China has recently announced that they are looking to increase the number of international students studying in China. Currently, China hosts 265,000 international students from all around the world. The majority of these students are from South Korea followed by the United States, Japan and Thailand. Now, the Chinese education ministry announced that they would like to increase the international student population to 500,000 by 2020.
In order to increase the number of international students, China is working multilaterally to do country-to-country exchanges with a primary focus on Latin America, Africa, North East Asia, the European Union, and the Middle East. To do this, countries are agreeing to recognize academic degrees and credit transfers. China is also offering scholarships and classes in English to provide financial and language assistance.
These efforts have already begun; China set aside $121.7 million in scholarships in 2010 which has been estimated to help 22,000 international students. These efforts are also in work with the United States as evident by the 100,000 Strong Initiative which is a collaborative effort between Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama. Announced in 2009, this initiative was established to bring 100,000 US students to study in China. This would be quite an increase as only 13,165 US college students studied in China during the 2007-08 school year.
China has also been establishing agreements with its neighboring counties as well. In fact, China established two 10,000 Student Exchange Programs with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To provide students with financial assistance, China also offered and funded 10,000 scholarships in the next 10 years for students from ASEAN countries. It is expected that China is going to continue its efforts by reaching out to other countries to ensure a diverse international student population.