Try our corporate solution for free!
(212) 419-8286

Number of foreign students studying in China 2018, by country of origin

In 2018, students from 196 different countries and regions were studying in China. The highest number of students came from South Korea amounting to 50,600, while only 20,996 students came from the United States.

International students in China

The total number of foreign students in China increased steadily over recent years and reached more than 490,000 in 2018. That was roughly double as much as ten years ago and made China one of the leading host destinations for international students. Looking at their origins in terms of global regions reveals that by far the largest share of students come from Asia, while the Americas and Europe together accounted for only slightly more than 22 percent of all students in 2018. While the share of students from Western countries has been shrinking steadily in recent years, more and more students from Asia and Africa were attracted to study in China. Regarding the United States, the figures interestingly not only decreased in relation to other regions, but also in total numbers. In contrast, students particularly from Africa are increasingly able and willing to study in China, and numbers from countries participating in China's Belt and Road Initiative displayed the highest growth rates over recent years.

Student situation

Regarding the financial situation of international students in China, most of them were either self-funded or receiving a scholarship from foreign institutions. However, the number of students supported by the Chinese government increased considerably over the last ten years, with a growing number of scholarships granted to students from developing countries. Preferred universities for study were either located in the two most developed cities Beijing and Shanghai, or in the eastern and southern coastal regions of China.

Number of foreign students studying in China in 2018, by country of origin

Exclusive Premium statistic

You need a Single Account for unlimited access.

  • Full access to 1m statistics

  • Incl. source references

  • Available to download in PNG, PDF, XLS format

Single Account

$39 $59 per month *
in the first 12 months
33% discount until March 31st
*Duration: 12 months, billed annually, single license

Access to this and all other statistics on 80,000 topics from

$468 / Year
$708 / Year

Show detailed source information?
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in

Release date

April 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

In 2018, there were 492,185 foreign students from 196 countries and regions studying in 1,004 universities and academic institutions in China.

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $468 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.
This statistic is not included in your account.

Single Account
The ideal entry-level account for individual users
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references
$59 $39 / Month *
in the first 12 months
Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* Prices do not include sales tax.

Statistics on "Tertiary education in China"

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $468 / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.