More and more international Chinese students chose the USA to study.

Chinese students within American universities

Right night, it’s graduation season in USA and one students group is stands out : the international Chinese students and their number keeps growing each year. According to a recent statistics, this semester on 15.000 graduated students from the University of Columbia, almost 600 of them were Chinese students. This number can be even more impressive according to the localization of the university.



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The number of Chinese students exporting themselves to USA in order to study Art or Fashion keeps rising. Prestigious institutes like the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York have seen their admission demands from Chinese students increasing.

According to the Open Doors of 2014 report of the Institute of the Internationale Education, the number of Chinese students in USA rose by 8% for the school year 2013 – 2014 reaching so the 886.052 Chinese students.


The Chinese international students represent one-third of all international students and this figure doesn’t seem to be willing to stop. Indeed, the total amount of registration for the years 2013 – 2014 increased by 17% and in particular in the undergraduate section with 18% of registration from the Chinese students.

The other american institutions take by storm

This rise doesn’t only concern university students. Indeed, the most influent Chinese people in particular, send their children to any kind of school in United States and no matter their age.


According to the Voice of America, more than 30.000 Chinese students are actually doing their studies in an american high school which some of them have school fees reaching US $50.000 the year. plus de 30,000 étudiants chinois font actuellement leurs études au sein d’un lycée américain, dont certains ayant des frais de scolarité atteignant les 50,000 dollars l’année.

Chinese parents invest for their children

This rise does not only represent a huge number for the American demographic. This number also refers to a commercial rise for many companies : from real estate company to luxury retailers.

For the wealthy Chinese parents, buying a house for their children in USA is often seen like a profitable investment. According to a recent real estate report, from March 2014 to this year, Chinese purchases on international real estate is equivalent to US $22 billion against US $12.4 billion last year.


In USA, $1 on 4 spent on the international real estate are made by Chinese people. And the Chinese do not only make waves in the quantity, they also do in quality. The average price of a house bought by Chinese is US $528.148. More than double of the average price for any kind of house anywhere is the US.

This can be noticed in the cities counting the most Chinese students. Several real estate agencies from New York said that the neighborhood around the Universities of New York and of Columbia are really popular in the eyes of Chinese investors.

The students themselves invest

Also, the Chinese students leave more and more for the inside of the USA because the admission criteria are lower than the ones for the Ivy League. Thus, the car market is exploding.


Indeed, according to a study of CNW Marketing Research, Chinese international students in the USA are spending around US $15.5 billion in new cars or used ones for the year 2012. In the same period, a group of american students will spend around US $4.7 billion in cars.


Chinese students will enjoy they exportation in the USA to invest in luxury products such as brand bags or clothes, wether it will be for them or for their parents. Although they are students, they still have money.

American market change its strategy

In response to this number in the USA, the luxury market and the commercial sales will change their strategies in order to attract more the young consumers.

This February, during the new year holidays, Benjamin Reid of Bergdorf Goodman said : “high schooler who came into the store to get a Chanel watch for her mother…She was in the city after touring colleges in the tri-state area, having visited Princeton, and she came here to shop.”


The university exchanges are more and more requested by students from all over the world. But some of them are more. That is the case for Chinese students who will leave abroad for their studies and mainly in the USA, the biggest competitor of China. Students who are going to the United States mainly come from a Chinese wealthy family. Thus, once they enter the country, these one will invest in cars or in luxury products, these students doesn’t have a short budget. Plus, their own parents also invest in real estate in order to offer their children a good house to live in. And this doesn’t seem to want to calm down, figures show it, each year there are more and more Chinese students who are leaving for the USA.

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  1. Well, someone needs to fix the issues with student laws and its influence on the US financial state (and separate household states in particular). So, the flow from China is evident and can’t be onsidered a bad sign. On the contrary, this is how the USA is making money today. Here’s the other side though: many (Americans) lose their jobs and it’s hard for them to compete on the labour market (the reasons are evident). What do they get in the end? Lower paid jobs and debt (because lack of income makes them go for additional funding and it’s not always a good idea (more on So, there’re always 2 sides, both are on here.

    1. Hi Alex,
      Thanks for the observation
      According to your point then, it is up to the American to find a way to be more competitive. It is just like any market : find your competitive advantage to take over the market. What do you think is the competitive advantage of american workers?

  2. Thanks for the interesting article and comments.
    I live in Switzerland and what I see here is plenty of foreigners coming to study.
    Indeed, Swiss universities have the highest proportion of foreign students in the world.
    Those students who decide to stay are then feeding all the NGOs around: WTO, World Health Organization, United Nations, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), International Telecommunication Union, Global Fund, Red Cross, WWF, etc.
    But when it comes to corporate jobs in specific fields like banking for instance, I see very few foreigners besides the ones from neighboring countries (France, Italy, Germany) able to penetrate the local job market. In my private bank for instance, 99% of workers located in Geneva are French speakers and managers are not really keen or recruiting non french speakers. My former boss even told me he wouldn’t recruit someone not speaking French ’cause it would force him to organize meetings in English, something he can do but doesn’t really like.

    Where I’m trying to, is getting to the point that even if theoretically everyone competes with everyone globally, a lot of local barriers remain to keep foreign workers from entering the job market: visa issues, language barriers (anyone speaking Swiss German and French in China ?), local expertise (who knows Swiss accounting rules in China?), heavy screening process (I was asked to provide a criminal check from every country I lived in when I was recruited, and a Swiss one that I need to provide every two years from now on), degrees and prior experience that need to ideally be local, etc.

    A friend told me the same about Finance in China: how many foreigners are able to work in Chinese financial institutions in China? Very few due to: language barrier, confidentiality, closed market, tough working conditions, visa issues, loss of competitive advantage for western expats now that most Chinese students graduate from good universities and speak Chinese, English and sometimes another language, etc.

    In the US, a lot of Chinese graduating from second/third tier universities and quite poor academic contents/recognition and even from good universities are not able to get a real job within a year after graduation. Their 1 year OPT visa then expires and they are forced back to China. Only the best ones are recruited and there is still a long way before climbing hierarchy of blue chips companies. My wife (Chinese) graduated 1st from Pace University in New York with GPA 4.0 and honors but it was quite hard for her to find a job and her level of English was still shaky after graduating. Most of Chinese/Taiwanese friends from Pace didn’t find any job after graduation and left the US for good.
    The best integration model I saw was actually in Canada: Chinese parents sent their kids to Canadian high schools when they were 14 years old. After ten years studying over there, the get the Canadian citizenship and enter the job market quite easily thanks to their local background.

    1. Hi Antoine,
      Thanks for the opinion, much appreciated.
      You are right indeed. Actually It’s much harder for Chinese to go overseas than it is for a lot of foreigners in China. But that’s another story… Looking forward to reading you more!

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