The total number of Pakistani students in China spiked to 22,000 this fall thanks to the addition of approximately 2,500 new enrollments, as recently reported by To what can China’s growing popularity with students from this region be attributed, and what does it mean for exchange at large? Here’s a closer look.

Landmark Numbers

According to a senior official of the Pakistani Embassy, China is now the leading destination for students from Pakistan. Not only that, but the rate of growth for Pakistani students exceeds that of the rate of growth for China’s total population of international students.

PhDs are sought-after among this segment, with 3,000 Pakistan students in China working toward this advanced degree. Other areas of interest include engineering, economic, management, agriculture, medicine, information technology, communication and languages.

Driving Demand

The allure of China is strong for several reasons. For starters, its universities are rising in regional and international rankings: 45 universities from mainland China claimed spots on the list of Asia’s best universities with Hong Kong and Taiwan laying claim to six and 25, respectively.

Government incentives are also adding to its appeal. Said Xu Tao, director of the Chinese ministry’s department of international cooperation and exchange, “A series of preferential policies drafted by the Chinese government for students from these countries have contributed to the remarkable rise in their numbers, including offering 10,000 places each year for students from countries along the Belt and Road Initiative to study in China under the support of the Chinese Government Scholarship.”

The government initiatives are paying off. Reports, “According to experts, these students, who secured their admissions under scholarships, are representing Pakistani society in China and are fast becoming a source of enhancing cultural exchanges and people to people contacts between the two countries.”

Learn more about studying in China.