Friday, 13 May 2016

Show me the Money!: How much have leading Chinese universities got to play with in 2016/17?

This month, the Times Higher Education reputation rankings revealed 18 Asian universities have made the top 100.  Amongst these 18, 5 Chinese institutions now rank in the top 100:

Tsinghua University(21)
Peking University (21)
Fudan University (71-80)
Shanghai Jiaotong University (71-80)
Zhejiang University (81-90)

Every year, the relentless climb of leading elite institutions from China leads to a chorus, speculating both positively and negatively on the rise of China as a global HE superpower.  The logic is fairly straightforward: if trends continue, it won't be long before the rankings are dominated by Chinese institutions.

However, recent information released in China reveals significant differences in projected incomes for the 71 key national universities under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education.

For 2016, these 71 universities expect receive RMB307.5bn (US$47.31bn or £32.75bn). This equates to an average of RMB4.33bn per institution (US$666m or £461m).

However, the incomes vary significantly.  Tsinghua University leads the way with an expected income of RMB18.22bn (US$2.8bn or £1.94bn).  At the other end, if we exclude the Central Academy of Drama and the Central Conservatory of Music, the lowest income is that of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) at a meagre RMB900m (US$138.46m or £95.84m).

To give some figures for comparison at leading universities in the US, UK (all figures from public financial statements released for year to June/July 2015):

Harvard University (ranked no.1 in the recent Times Higher Reputation rankings) reported income in 2015 of US$4.53bn (RMB29.42bn).

The University of Oxford (ranked 5th) reported income of £1.43bn (RMB13.42bn).

If we look at other reputable world ranked universities from the US, UK closer to Tsinghua (18) and PKU (21) rankings:

Cornell (ranked 17th) reported income of US$3.51bn (RMB22.84bn)

UCL (ranked 20th) reported income of £1.18bn (RMB11.06bn)


Full Listing: Projected Income 2016 for 71 Key Universities under MoE Jurisdiction.


Rank
University
C9
985
2016 Projected (RMB Bn)
1
Tsinghua University
Ÿx
Ÿx
18.217
2
Zhejiang University
Ÿx
15.428
3
Peking University
15.311
4
Shanghai Jiaotong University
Ÿx
11.803
5
Fudan University
Ÿx
7.88
6
Wuhan University

Ÿx
7.823
7
Shandong University

Ÿx
7.728
8
Sun Yat-sen University

Ÿx
7.396
9
Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Ÿx
7.047
10
Tianjin University

Ÿx
7.031
11
Sichuan University

Ÿx
6.325
12
Tongji University

Ÿx
6.007
13
Nanjing University
Ÿx
5.702
14
Xi'an Jiaotong University
Ÿx
5.637
15
Xiamen University

Ÿx
5.579
16
Beijing Normal University

Ÿx
5.367
17
Jilin University

Ÿx
5.219
18
Nankai University

Ÿx
5.181
19
South China University of Technology

Ÿx
5.179
20
Southeast University

Ÿx
5.12
21
Central South University

Ÿx
5.012
22
Dalian University of Technology

Ÿx
4.502
23
Renmin University

Ÿx
4.355
24
East China Normal University

Ÿx
4.235
25
Wuhan University of Technology


4.151
26
Northeast University

Ÿx
4.054
27
Chongqing University

Ÿx
3.96
28
University of Electronic Science and Technology

3.771
29
Beijing Jiaotong University


3.707
30
China University of Geosciences (Wuhan)


3.462
31
China University of Mining and Technology (Huadong)


3.346
32
China University of Petroleum (East China)


3.311
33
Beijing University of Technology

3.3
34
China University of Petroleum (Beijing)


3.267
35
Lanzhou University

Ÿx
3.243
36
Southwest University


3.239
37
Hunan University

Ÿx
3.203
38
Southwest Jiaotong University


3.064
39
Beijing University of Chemical Technology


3.007
40
Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University

Ÿx
2.973
41
Hehai University


2.888
42
Xidian University


2.828
43
Nanjing Agricultural University


2.746
44
Central China Agricultural University


2.705
45
North China Electric Power University


2.7
46
Hefei University of Technology


2.663
47
Chang'an University


2.653
48
China Ocean University


2.474
49
Central China Normal University


2.445
50
Jiangnan University


2.322
51
Beijing University of Post and Telecoms


2.255
52
Northeast Normal University


2.236
53
China University of Geosciences (Beijing)


2.085
54
Zhongnan Universiy of Economics and Law


2.016
55
Donghua University


19.58
56
Shaanxi Normal University


1.741
57
University of International Business and Economics


1.607
58
Beijing Forestry University


1.567
59
Northeast Forestry University


1.484
60
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine


1.452
61
China Pharmaceutical University


1.412
62
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics


1.316
63
China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)


1.231
64
Communication University of China


1.192
65
Central University of Finance and Economics


1.136
66
Beijing Foreign Studies University


1.018
67
Beijing Language and Culture University


1.015
68
China University of Politics and Law


0.991
69
Shanghai International Studies University


0.902
70
Central Conservatory of Music


0.42
71
Central Academy of Drama


0.305
TOTAL FUNDING for MoE 71 Institutions
307.527
(Source: Ministry of Education 2016)

In all cases, expenditure at the US/UK universities listed above accounts for at least 95% of income in 2015.  Figures (not published here) show similar income/expenditure patterns for all Chinese universities in 2015, so it is expected that these universities will spend the overwhelming majority (95%+) of these project 2016 incomes.

C9, 985 and 211
Chinese universities which emphasise science and technology demonstrate much greater projected incomes than those, such as SISU Beijing Foreign Studies University and others with an emphasis on humanities, liberal arts and social sciences.

These 71 universities are all members of Project 211, while there are 31 universities also categorised under Project 985 (the remaining 8 members of Project 985 are under the jurisdiction of other Ministries).  Similarly, there are 7 of the 9 members of the elite C9 Group.

However, the C9 universities take the top 5, with Nanjing (13th) and Xi'an Jiaotong (14th) pushed further down the rankings by several other big hitters from the 985 group.  Perhaps even more surprisingly, only one of these (Tongji) is from the education powerhouse of Shanghai, with none from Beijing.  Universities from Hebei, Shandong, Guangdong, Tianjin and Sichuan occupy positions 6th-11th, with Tongji in 12th spot.

Further down the table, we also see some of the Project 211 universities (or more correctly non-985 universities) shaking things up.  Wuhan University of Technology places 26th in terms of income, knocking several 985 universities down.  Other prominent non 985 universities include Beijing Jiaotong University; China University of Geosciences (Wuhan, Hubei); China University of Mining and Technology (Xuzhou, Jiangsu) and China University of Petroleum (Qingdao, Shandong and Beijing Campuses).

Wuhan appears to be emerging as an inland educational powerhouse after Beijing and Shanghai, and is undoubtedly the most prominent city in terms of development and growth.  In addition to the several universities listed here, Wuhan has a strong provincial education infrastructure with strengths in several important areas, all concentrated in area where Wuchang district borders with Hongshan district in southeastern Wuhan.  Certainly, this table shows that Wuhan's prominent universities are punching above their weight.

Of course, simple comparisons of income levels don't really tell us that much, without taking into account other factors (location is important for attracting students; province with regards to difficulty of entry; region in terms of how far that income goes).  So we can certainly see that Fudan is falling behind the leading 4 in terms of income, but considering the expense of being located in Shanghai, would have to argue does better with its income that Wuhan, Shandong, Sun Yat'sen, Huazhong Keji and Tianjin (6th - 10th, within RMB7-8bn budget).  That beings said, Fudan is more attractive to talented academics precisely because it is in Shanghai.

It remains to be seen whether the trend of Chinese universities rocketing up the world rankings of THE, QS and Jiaotong's ARWU can be maintained.  Given the disparity between Key National Universities (71 listed here, but China has over 2200 HEI's with well over 1000 delivering HE at the 4yr degree level and above), I expect that while Tsinghua, PKU will become the leading lights, and SJTU, Zhejiang and Fudan will also gain global recognition, its going to be sometime before the likes of Nankai, Shandong, Tianjin, Wuhan and Huakeda become well known beyond China's borders and especially as global brands outside the academic sphere.




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