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Hong Kong ranked ‘world top city’ for universities

HONG KONG IS arguably the world’s top university city, a new survey reveals today.

Five of the top 100 academic institutions on the planet are located in Hong Kong, according to an annual study published this week by Times Higher Education of London.

Hong Kong beat London and Paris for number of academic top performers in the top 100, both of which have only four universities in the list.

But while the city on the coast of south China may be a world beater in the number of good academic institutions outside the United States, it can be said to be behind Boston, often described as the planet’s top city for students.

That’s because the universities in Boston are traditionally combined in the counting process with those in the neighboring city of Cambridge. Together, the sister cities have six generally well-ranked universities, including the ultra high-ranking ones, such as Harvard and MIT.


But there are other good cities not far behind. Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore are all single cities which have two or more good universities with a presence in the top 100, and other institutions not far behind.

Academic researchers note that the high scores of Hong Kong universities are particularly remarkable, given that grades tend to based on English language performance in research and development. In Hong Kong, the main language is Cantonese, and many students struggle to write English at a level suitable for publication in academic journals. The same is true for Shanghai and Beijing.

Singapore, noted for its excellent education system, has many native English speakers, which gives it an advantage. It is expected to be a major player in the near future.

Asians are disadvantaged by the way English has become the required language of academia. Image: MD Duran/ Unsplash


In Hong Kong, the best performer of the past 12 months was City University of Hong Kong, which rose from 151st place to 99, joining the others in the top 100.

Chinese University has been moving up steadily, making the top 50 at 49th place last year, and now inching up to 45. Tech-oriented Hong Kong University of Science and Technology rose eight spots to 58, and Polytechnic University rose 12 places to from 91 to 79. University of Hong Kong is in 30th place, down one spot, but still ranked the top institution in the city.

All in all, the ranking is an extraordinary testament to the education system in the city.

Image at the top by Joseph Chan/ Unsplash

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