Hong Kong’s three leading universities have made the top 80 of the annual Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings for the first time, although the list is still dominated by US and European institutions. As in previous years, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) topped the city’s tertiary institutions at 45, up from 51 to 60 last year. After an absence from the top 100 last year, Chinese University made a return this year with a rank of between 71 and 80, sharing the same group as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Only the top 50 universities are given precise rankings, with the rest categorised in groups of 10 as researchers explained the margins in scores were too narrow to differentiate. China outnumbers Japan for first time in Asia university rankings; Hong Kong and Macau in top 100 The University of Tokyo reigned as Asia’s top institution at No 12, followed by Tsinghua University in Beijing at No 18 and Peking University at No 21 – both all-time highs. Three other universities on the mainland – Fudan, Shanghai Jiao Tong and Zhejiang – made it to the top 100 for the first time with rankings between 71 and 90. Universities in the Asia-Pacific region saw rapid progress over the past year, with 18 making the top 100, compared with 10 last year. Spokespersons for HKU and Chinese University said their goal was to strive for excellence in both teaching and research, while HKUST said rankings had always been a reference tool to measure performance and to make improvements. While HKU climbed back into the top 50, it is still nine places lower than its all-time high of 36 in 2013. The city’s top institution witnessed rowdy protests last year against its governing council’s rejection of liberal scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun as pro-vice-chancellor, as well as the appointment of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as council chairman. Li had caused a stir by blaming the drop in rankings on “academics who not do their jobs properly”. The university did not respond to questions on whether the controversy surrounding the council had a part to play in the latest rankings. The findings are not to be confused with overall university rankings, also published by Times Higher Education, which is updated every September. The reputation table is based on the subjective judgments of more than 10,000 published scholars from 133 countries interviewed between January and March. The scores are based on the number of times an institution is cited as being the best in its field. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology comes in third in ranking of young institutions US universities are the big winners once again, occupying eight of the top 10 spots and 43 of the top 100. For the sixth year in a row, Harvard University topped the list, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. The University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, ranked second and third last year, both dropped two places to sit fourth and fifth. The University of Tokyo reigned as Asia’s top institution at No 12, followed by Tsinghua University in Beijing at 18th. The region’s universities have seen rapid progress over the past year, with 18 making the top 100, compared with 10 in 2015.