Hong Kong university takes second spot in 2024 Asian University Rankings

The breakdown of the rankings revealed notable shifts among Hong Kong’s universities. Five institutions from the city climbed up the list, while three experienced declines. One remained in its position, and a newcomer also made its debut on the charts.

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In a significant achievement for Hong Kong’s education sector, the city’s oldest university, the University of Hong Kong, has reclaimed the second spot in the Asian University Rankings for 2024, surpassing its Singaporean counterpart.

Peking University in mainland China also retained its top position for the second consecutive year in the rankings compiled by British firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

The breakdown of the rankings revealed notable shifts among Hong Kong’s universities. Five institutions from the city climbed up the list, while three experienced declines. One remained in its position, and a newcomer also made its debut on the charts.

A standout feature in this year’s rankings was the impressive performance of Hong Kong’s universities in the category of citations per paper, showcasing their high-impact research contributions to academia.

Attracting international talent

One key factor contributing to the success of Hong Kong’s universities is their ability to attract international talent. Among its government-funded counterparts, the featured university boasted the highest proportion of international undergraduates. Over the years, it has consistently enrolled more than 500 non-local students annually, with half of them hailing from overseas.

Looking ahead, the university has ambitious plans to further enhance its international diversity. The institution aims to gradually increase the number of non-local students to approximately 600 during the 2024-25 academic year, with a particular emphasis on enrolling students from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Belt and Road Initiative, a flagship project by the Chinese government, aims to connect numerous economies across Asia, Europe, and Africa into a comprehensive trade network centered around China. This move aligns with the university’s commitment to fostering global perspectives and diversity among its student body.

A cautious approach to expansion

However, the university has pointed out a cautious approach to expansion, ruling out any drastic doubling of non-local intake in a single year. This measured strategy ensures a smooth transition while maintaining the institution’s high standards of education.

City leader John Lee Kachiu recognized the importance of expanding admission quotas in his recent policy address, with the goal of positioning Hong Kong as an international hub for post-secondary education.

“We welcome relaxation of non-local student admission caps. We’ll adopt a phased approach to ensure we provide high-quality education, including support in scholarship, housing, teaching and student services,” said Professor Emily Nason, director of the university’s undergraduate admissions department.

“We will not double the non-local intake in just one year’s time,” she said.

The Belt and Road Scholarship and other related schemes have already provided support to approximately 2,500 students from countries involved in the trade network in the last academic year. 

It was announced that the scholarship program would increase its quota by 50 percent from the 2024-25 academic year, further facilitating the educational aspirations of international students.

The benefits of studying in Hong Kong

George Tan Teck Kwang, a Malaysian student pursuing computer engineering at the university, expressed his gratitude for the scholarship’s financial assistance, which significantly alleviated his family’s financial burden.

The 23-year-old said, “It really helps relieve my family’s financial burden significantly. Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to continue my studies in Hong Kong so comfortably.”

He highlighted the benefits of studying in Hong Kong, particularly in terms of its efficient work culture, and shared his enthusiasm for remaining in the city after completing his studies, given its status as an international financial hub.

Park Jun-jing, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at the university, has not only embraced Hong Kong as his “second home” but also established a startup, VisionARi, with a focus on developing augmented-reality teaching materials. He cited Hong Kong’s openness to innovative pedagogical methods and its supportive startup ecosystem as reasons for choosing the city as the launchpad for his entrepreneurial venture.

Hong Kong’s universities have not only improved their rankings but are also actively contributing to the city’s status as a global education and innovation hub, attracting diverse talents and fostering groundbreaking research and entrepreneurial ventures. This positive trajectory reflects the commitment of the city to advancing its position in the global education landscape.

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