• Education

    Introducing China’s Third Species (Female PhDs)

    Jokes about women PhDs are many in China. The most famous and ignominious is that earth has three species – men, women and women PhDs. A well-known writer of kungfu novels, Jin Yong, writes of women with bachelor’s degrees as Huang Rong (clever and beautiful), but by the time of reaching PhD level female characters become comparable to Meijueshitai – old nuns with kungfu skills whom are cruel, fierce and ugly. Amid such a challenging cultural backdrop, are Chinese women put off? Reportedly many. However, there are nonetheless many tens of thousands of women in China doing PhDs. 2012 2013* PhD Graduates 51,713 139,411 Female 19,250 49,180 PhD Entrants 68,370…

  • Education

    Studying in English in Hong Kong and Beijing: Three Differences

    Hong Kong and Beijing boast some of the best universities in Asia. Having studied at the University of Hong Kong and Peking University, here is my personal take on three differences between studying in English in Hong Kong and Beijing:  Firstly, in Hong Kong typically universities use English as the medium of instruction.  Chinese (Cantonese and, increasingly, Mandarin) is used as a supplement. So in theory, you are on the same playing field as your Chinese classmates. Very often this means you can choose courses in line with your interests and career plan. The situation is different in Beijing.  While Chinese universities continue to increase the number of English-language programs…

  • Growth Challenges

    Next-Gen Innovative Shenzhen

      In late 1996 Tony Blair as then UK Opposition leader famously said, “Ask me my three main priorities for government and I tell you education, education, education”. In more visionary an echo of that call, speaking at the biennial conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) in June 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for China’s science and technology development to be directed to  “Innovation, Innovation and Innovation”. A fresh glance at newly and first-ever citywide innovation zone Shenzhen suggests China’s ability to respond to Xi’s call is more advanced than most outside of China realise.  

  • Education

    Studying Tourism in China: The Top 20 Schools

    The tourism industry demands a wide range of skills of its talent pool – mobility, multi-lingualism, ability to serve, cultural awareness and operational management skills among them. The tourism industry in China is growing faster than the national rate of growth, and added nearly $US1trn to GDP last year.  Yet China’s tourism industry is unprepared for the scale and speed of its own ascent. China’s “Hawaii”, Sanya, for example is reporting a shortage of English-speakers with proficient international-level tourism industry acumen to fill vacancies. Getting the right people to the right vacancies may require a change in the way tourism talent is developed, one starting point for which are China’s…

  • Education

    Five Reasons to do a Degree in China; and Five not to

    An increasing number of students from around the world are enrolling in degree-programs in China. Additionally, an increasing number of joint-PhD and joint-degree programs are being set up between Chinese and non-Chinese universities, largely for graduate students, but also including undergraduate degrees. For persons contemplating their future study choices, this piece presents a short list of five reasons to do a degree in China, and five reasons not to, that might be a useful reference point. Five Reasons to do a Research Degree in China:  1. Language:One of the deepest linguistic dives is to study in a second language, lifting your language from an every day skill to a more professional…

  • Education

    Conducting Fieldwork in China

    If you’re a masters or Ph.D. student conducting social science research on China for your thesis or dissertation, at some point you might find yourself in China for fieldwork. Having recently spent a year in China for my own dissertation fieldwork, here are some suggestions for a successful (or at least not overwhelmingly painful) fieldwork experience in China. 1) You’ll need an affiliation. Unless you are going to China for very short periods of time, you will need an affiliation in the country for three reasons. First of all, you will need an institution to help obtain a residence permit. Most tourist visas only allow you to stay for 30 days, but…

  • Growth Challenges

    Is Hebei crowned Cambridgeshire 3.0?

      Pollution, congestion, population density and sky-high housing costs are among factors inspiring an emerging joint development plan for neighbouring Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province. This would involve relocation of some activities from Beijing to surrounding areas. A recent China Daily article, ‘Move colleges out of capital”, suggests this might include relocation of some universities. Here we take a leap forward, and ponder if Hebei might even be earmarked to become Cambridgeshire 3.0.

  • Uncategorized

    China’s Top 20 Universities in 2014

      China’s economy is increasingly being steered away from low-tech manufacturing and rather toward high-tech and talent rich economic drivers.  China’s universities – the producers of the majority of China’s educated talent pool – are thus of rising in importance, inside and also outside of China. Despite this, only Peking and Tsinghua universities are international academic brands.