Chinese institutions expected to keep more talent in post-pandemic times
Chinese institutions dominate the latest edition of the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings, with Tsinghua and Peking University now holding the top two positions for two consecutive years.
There are also more universities from the Chinese mainland in the top 50 (15) and top 100 (31) than from any other country or region. Of the 91 Chinese mainland universities appearing in the rankings, the majority have maintained or improved their positions from last year, which is seen as "an impressive feat" by the publication, given increased competition as a result of an additional 62 universities appearing in the table compared to 2020.
Tsinghua University holds the top position for the third consecutive year, after first claiming it in 2019, while Peking University maintains its position in second place. This is despite the rankings containing a record 551 universities (a 13 percent increase on the 489 that ranked in 2020), from 30 economies.
Elsewhere in the top 10, National University of Singapore (third) and University of Hong Kong (fourth) maintain their 2020 positions. Singapore's Nanyang Technological University moves into the top five after finishing sixth last year.
The Chinese mainland is also the best represented country or region in the top 50 holding a record 15 positions, as Central South University (44th), and South China University of Technology (joint 50th) move into the group. Of these universities, 13 improve or maintain their previous rank.
The theme continues throughout the rankings, as Chinese mainland universities secure a record 31 positions in the top 100, and 65 of the 81 universities that ranked in 2020 (80 percent), maintain or improve their previous positions in the table, despite the increased competition across the region.
The Chinese mainland saw a record 91 universities qualify in total for the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2021, second only to Japan, which had 116, in terms of representation. In total, 72 universities across Asia make their debut this year, with 10 achieving positions in the top 200.
Ten institutions from the Chinese mainland qualify for the first time, the second highest number of debutants by any country or region in this year's ranking (India has 14 debutants). Zhejiang Normal University (89th) is one of only two debutants to rank in the top 100, alongside Iran's Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, 45th.
Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, said: "After becoming the first ever country or region to secure the top two positions in the Asia University Rankings last year, it is an excellent achievement for Chinese mainland to do so again.
"While we have witnessed consistent progress from Chinese mainland's institutions in these rankings, it is remarkable to see the overwhelming majority of its institutions improve or maintain their previous positions with record numbers at the top end of the table," he added.
Baty points out that the Chinese mainland saw the most debutants qualify in 2021, which he said highlights desire to showcase the quality of its higher education system on the Asian and world stage.
"It will be interesting to see what happens in Chinese mainland over the coming years, and how its universities adapt to the post-COVID world," he said. "Despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19, there may be an opportunity for Chinese mainland universities to attract and retain more regional students and academic staff as disruption to traditional talent fl ow continues."