China overtakes the Middle East for proliferation of branch campuses

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of ChinaIn an update which will support China’s brain-drain battle, there are now said to be more international branch campuses in the nation than anywhere else in the world. A new report from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), shows that while growth of branch campuses has grown around the world, it’s particularly notable in Asia and, above all, in China.

The report

The report, entitled International Branch Campuses, Trends and Developments, 2016 was co-authored with the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT). According to their findings, there are now around 250 international branch campuses across over 70 countries. The criteria for an international branch campus is that it must be at least partially owned by a foreign education provider, must be operated by it, and must offer degree programmes on site awarded by that university.

There are over 180,000 students studying at international branch campuses today, according to the report’s estimate, and the numbers are still growing. Between 2011 and 2015, a further 66 international branch campuses began operations as more and more universities begin to see the benefits.

The top five host countries for international branch campuses are: China with 32; the United Arab Emirates with 31; Singapore with 12; Malaysia with 12; and Qatar with 11. China and the United Arab Emirates are therefore far and away the leading hosts, with almost three times the number of the next highest.

Why China?

The report suggests that the growing number of international branch campuses in China is a result of the increased demand for higher education in general, coupled with the perception of international degrees being better for employability. Additionally, China’s government has announced a focus on retaining their tertiary students in an effort to combat the brain drain, and international branch campuses are a good way of doing this.

Chinese flagsWhich are the main countries?

The top ‘home’ countries responsible for these institutions are the USA, UK, Russia, France and Australia. The USA and UK have dominated the market for many years, but France has recently begun catching up.

This year, a large number of French tertiary education institutions, particularly business schools, have begun operating branch campuses in China. Kedge Business School, INSEAD, ESSEC, Audencia Business School and EMLYON are just some of the prominent universities which have recently begun, or are continuing, transnational education offerings with China.

Find out more about international branch campuses here.

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