World Best Universities:- 2022 – Fortune Magazine


Fortune Magazine

Sophie Mellor

Chinese universities are gaining ground on American institutions in a ‘shift in the global knowledge economy’. Here’s what’s driving the change


American higher education is losing its prestige
  1. The number of U.S. universities in the top 100 of the World University Rankings by Times Higher Education has dropped for the fifth year running, while the number in China sits at an all-time high.
  2. While the U.S. and the U.K. still dominate the top slots in the Times ranking, which tracks universities based on their teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook, the number of American institutions in the top 100 fell from 43 to 34 between 2018 and this year, while the number of Chinese universities increased from two to seven.
  3. “The data is very clear: we are seeing a real shift in the balance of power in the global knowledge economy, away from the traditionally dominant western world,” Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer of the Times Higher Education and rankings editor said in a statement.
  4. Phil Baty notes that while the U.S. and U.K. remain dominant at the top of the rankings, with Oxford University taking first place for the world’s leading research university for the seventh year in a row, their “relative power is waning: mainland China leads a strengthening in East Asia, taking more and more of the top 200 places, and the Middle East is seeing a real renaissance in higher education.”

China’s growing dominance
  1. Although China’s power is undoubtedly growing, the U.S. still holds seven of the top 10 slots.
  2. The top 10 universities in the ranking, in order, are Oxford University, Harvard University, University of Cambridge, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, and Imperial College London.
  3. The first Chinese university on the list comes in at 16th place, which is jointly shared by Peking University and Tsinghua University. Five years earlier, both schools found themselves below 30th place.
  4. But beyond the top 20, America’s position is drastically changing.

Scientific Research
  1. One of the main drivers in China’s exaltation into the rankings of the Times Higher Education list was driven by their advanced COVID research and the number of citations on their papers.
  2. In last year’s rankings, Caroline Wagner, endowed chair in international affairs at Ohio State University, said in a statement that “the first three or four most important articles that came out on Covid were all from China,” adding that in the long term she expected the rise in citation impact to “steadily continue beyond the current pandemic, mostly because China is already the global leader in scientific publications.”
  3. In a paper published by the journal Scientometrics in 2022 co-authored by Wagner, China had also overtaken the U.S. in the number of “high impact” studies it published by 2019, with China not only producing more research, but research of a higher caliber—taking a greater share in the top 1% of papers most cited globally.
  4. “The US has tended to rank China’s work as lower quality. This appears to have changed,” Wagner said in the paper.


  1. China’s rising academic output can also be seen in the number of patents it produces. China’s share of international patents rose from 16% in 2010 to 49% in 2020. Over the same time frame, the share of U.S.-borne patents declined from 15% to 10%, according to the National Science Foundation.


William C. Kirby ( Harvard University – Business Administration – Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family )
  1. In Empire of Ideas, a book written by William C. Kirby, a professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, the rise of Chinese universities may be the rejigging of the global order and a shift in the balance of power.
  2. “In 2022, as Chinese universities climb quickly in global rankings and attract more than a half-million international students to their campuses, this cannot easily be separated from China’s return to a position of global power and influence,” Kirby wrote in the introduction of his book.
  3. Part of this shift in America’s position in the top 100 could have been caused by a lack of allocated federal budget.
  4. In 2021, American research and development as a percentage of the federal budget fell to a 70-year low as a percentage of the federal budget. This is in contrast to China, which has steadily upped its spending by an average of 10.6% annually from 2010 to 2019.

United Kingdom – University of Oxford – Migration Observatory
  1. Another part of the decline could be due to a fall in the West’s attractiveness as a destination for international students.
  2. The U.K. and the U.S., both extremely popular destinations for international students, lost market share in students coming from abroad from 2008 to 2019, according to the Migration Observatory by the University of Oxford, while China gained its market share.


  1. The number of undergraduate students from mainland China studying in Hong Kong universities also grew to record highs in the last academic year, due to intensified geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S. and U.K.
  2. According to the University Grants Committee, 8,622 mainland students enrolled in undergraduate programs at Hong Kong’s eight government-funded universities in the last academic year— up 13% compared to 2020-21.
  3. Geopolitical tensions aside, the top 200 on the Times Higher Education list is the most diverse it has ever been with 104 countries and regions this year, compared to just 70 in 2016.


Good For All
  1. “I think this shift – a global leveling up – is good news for the world. A rising tide is lifting all boats: access to top quality education is opening up globally and helping to diminish the brain drain from developing countries,” says Baty.


  1. J.P. Satanaz ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Just a week ago I red an article on the Intercept (i guess) where it states that by the year 2025 China will have 300 million people with university degrees in all scientific fields….
      I also red in another article that in US only 26% of youngsters between 17 and 24 did not qualify to serve in the armed forces, and that the decreasing in universities frequencies has dropped by 4,5% a year for almost a decade……So, how important are the university rankings if we have no students…( probably because of the fees they charge)…..
  2. Outsider ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Anyone been to UC Irvine or UC Berkeley lately? It’s all Chinese, not that anything is wrong with it. That’s what is driving the change, not rocket science.
  3. Exmachina ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • It’s not driving the change described in the article. The prevalence at US Berkeley and UC Irvine (per surveys) Americans of Chinese descent is about 40%. 92 to 95% are American born. Just happen to have ancestors who were Chinese. The numbers are because of local demographics in the regions that feed to those schools in that state. The percentages because of how they value education. The only connection is cultural valuation of education as a personal means to escape poverty. I have been informed by members of some cultures that they were never encouraged to strive academically.Chinese universities are brutally hard to enter due to admissions tests. In the US many universities are under pressure to stop formal testing and rely on life experience. You can make your own conclusions where merit and performance matters in adult life vs. the message we are sending.
  4. MY 2 BIT ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • I am suspicious of these school rankings. They should rank by departments, not general topics. The fact is China’s general population is more educated than those in the US. Just ask Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, who says one of the main reason he chose to make phones in China is due to the vast pool of educated technocrats which is not so in the US. The US annual engineering graduates is about 65,000 whereas China’s annual new engineering graduates is 600,000. Presidents have asked Apple to return but Cook did not budge. He only said he’ll repatriate $250 billion from oversea which is nice.
  5. My name ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • In the past, the best Chinese students came to US to study. However, we had restricted their admissions to many majors in US universities. As result of that, Chinese universities could get many top students used to come to US now staying in China.
  6. Danny ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Almost like equal outcome and focusing on politics instead of education is bad.
  7. BILLS ( 13 October, 2022 )
    • For cutting edge New technologies, such as NEVs, Batteries, Solar and Wind energy, Highspeed Transportation, Digital Currencies, etc… China is already a global leader.But the one fact that really locks in a fast advancing technological future for China, is the number of most cited papers and the number of patents caliber. Since China is already leading the US in both fields, one can imagine how competition will transcribe in the next 5 years and beyond.Blocking chip sales, banning Huawei, chasing off Chinese students from the US, oppressing and persecuting Top Chinese scientists and engineers in the US… all those acts actually benefit China while slowing down the US.Imagine, how wonderful things can happen to the world if US and China can cooperate in science and technology like they used to do 8 years ago! Miracles can happen!The US needs a great paradigm shift, instead of antagonizing China, make China a partner in science and technology for a brighter future for all humankind.
    • Another reason why the US is falling behind in academic excellence is because it chases away thousands and thousands of Chinese students back to China!The Chinese students traditionally focus on STEM subjects and have produced quality papers in good numbers on behalf of US universities. Now they go back to China and producing caliber papers on behalf of Chinese Universities. The best and brightest students who would be qualified to study in the US, who otherwise would be going to the US, now prefer to remain in China and attend Chinese universities.In calling Chinese students “Spies”, and in giving them a society where there is serious Asian Hate and near daily shooting deaths, America literally chases away the group of students that contribute the most to the schools’ science and technology!Another example of the US shooting itself in the belly while trying to “Weaken” China!
  8. Mad ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • How does trump university compare to these?
  9. evereachyu ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • The US politicians don’t really know what Chinese selling products to make money while the biggest US product is money. The US made profit of money but without products. It is inflation.
  10. Negative Light ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Maybe because they are teaching math, science and engineering instead of what pronoun to use
  11. required ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Much of it has to do with the cost of college in the US and the fact one needs to go into a six figure amount of debt for a professional degree. There are countries in Europe that let citizens go to college for free, they even let foreigners go for free. People in the US don’t know jack about the world outside of the US….they hardly know much about the US as well.
  12. 明悟之士 ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • The World Global Rankings has long been China-friendly. It gives heavy weight to data submitted by the universities themselves. That means the data may be skewed by political interests. The skewing effect is likely to be strongest in countries where nationalism prevails and politics and academics are tightly intertwined on university campuses. China is an increasingly nationalistic country and its universities are led by the CCP. The top boss is a general party secretary. Each department has a department-level party secretary. Promotions depend on party membership. Criticism of the party is censored, and critics are thrown in prison. Most westerners don’t stop to think about all this. They assume a university in China is much like one in the UK or the US, just that the language is Chinese and the food is Chinese. They are greatly mistaken. Hence, this rankings comparing Chinese and western institutions is like comparing apples and oranges.
  13. phillip ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • no worries! trump university will defeat them all and rank number one.
  14. Sphmusubi ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • “Although China’s power is undoubtedly growing, the U.S. still holds seven of the top 10 slots.”
      “the number of American institutions in the top 100 fell from 43 to 34 between 2018 and this year, while the number of Chinese universities increased from two to seven.”
      The US is still way ahead, but we sure need to change the direction….
  15. Foot ( 12 October, 2022 )
    •  The crisis is not competition from abroad, but that qualified people can see cost vs return is unreasonable. This is not about affirmative action but that a rational person would look at the cost of higher education and see that financial handicap as not worth it.
  16. Nanoman ( 12 October, 2022 )
    •  The republicans want to make the education so expensive that only elite class get education so whenever they come to power they cut the funding that’s why you will find that all the top ranking universities are in Democratic run states. They want to deprive the middle class of education so they and their class can rule. On the other hand the Democrats want everyone to have degrees but no knowledge as they promote easy way out, no competition among students and universities to do better. So what do you expect?
    • We think that choking Chinese companies by embargoing the supply of semiconductor is the solution instead of being competitive, is not a solution. The solution is higher education and unfortunately there are mostly foreign students, mostly Chinese. The high school produces students who can’t even spell their own names. The schools are divided between rich and poor neighborhood. Unless all, poor and rich, don’t get same treatment or same level of education that country or society is bond fail. And that’s where America is failing, rich vs. poor, black vs. white, Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic, the whole country is divided.
  17. Unknown ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • I was told several years ago by yahoo articles stating Chinese don’t know how to innovate. Alas, we forgot some of the most important innovations in history were done by Chinese.
  18. Brendan ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • And you need to also consider that most of the high impact papers and researches are done by those of Asian descent in the US.
  19. eddie ( 13 October, 2022 )
    • I taught in China for 10 years. If you fail an exam at the university, make a contribution to the library fund and you get to take the exam again. No one has to take the class again. I had students show up the first and last day of class and were allowed to pass. If you pay, you pass, 95 percent of students finish college in China and cheating is every where. I saw open book exams for graduate degrees. A professor’s grades can be changed by a higher authority, no problem. High school is tremendously hard with classes from 7am to 10pm, but college is just a summer camp.
  20. anton ( 13 October, 2022 )
    • We can all thank trump for this. He created the biggest brain drain this country ever had in the first 3 months of being in office. We lost 25,000 of the worlds top scientists. Guess where they went? China, Europe, Africa.
  21. Michael ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Observations: China increase on the list 2019, 2020 ironically coincides with those Trump years. The got a quick start on the research since they were source of origin and CA leads the field over any state. Furthermore, China is progress is mostly result of money and theft. Their inflexibility with new data on Covid and refusal to alter course is the proof that they are not get innovators.
  22. FrankM ( 12 October, 2022 )
    • Although China’s power is undoubtedly growing, the U.S. still holds seven of the top 10 slots. At one point, not so many years ago, China was pretty much an impoverished country. Now, it’s #2 in the world. Between 2018 and this year, while the number of Chinese universities increased from two to seven.
  23. Kevin ( 13 October, 2022 )
    • Im not too concerned. While Chinese universities provide excellent access to high quality education the communist culture teaches not to question and to follow only the thought patterns allowed by the government. Wester culture encourages free thought, facilitating innovative thinking and allows western students to leverage knowledge without artificial boundaries.

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