5 Reasons the China Bubble May be About to Burst for UK Universities

41% of the UK’s non EU university students come from China, providing funding and bums on seats as well as post-graduate teaching and research staff.

An interesting article in University World News this month, details a potential slow-down/reduction in Higher Education links between China and the West.


In short, the article suggests that due to factors, such as those listed below, the flow of students between China to the West will slow down in the next 5 years.

  1. The Asia-facing Belt and Road Initiative

  2. Expanded HE opportunities in China

  3. Upgrades to the top 100 Chinese universities

  4. New restrictions on academic freedom and access to information

  5. The decreasing popularity of liberal education

If this flow of students, intellect and money slows down or reduces, universities will have to look for other sources for all three.

Therefore, any educational institution (not just a university) which relies heavily on Chinese inflow would be well advised to examine in detail the potential effects of an deceleration on funding, staff and student numbers, and to identify and nurture replacements well before the slow-down occurs.

It’s common sense business continuity horizon scanning, and if the slow down never happens, then you haven’t lost anything.

About the Author


Toby Ingram, OBE

Senior Consultant,
Sector Lead: Academia & Historical Buildings

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