Shanghai Ranking releases 2017 list of top universities in Greater China
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking, released its 2017 ranking of top universities in Greater China on Thursday, in a bid to help students select universities to study in the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. The ranking, which is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely recognized, hopes to help those students who would like to consider universities located in regions outside their place of origins.

The 2017 ranking has seen six places in the top 10 taken by universities in the Chinese mainland with Tsinghua University taking the crown and Peking University standing behind it. The National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan is ranked the third while the Chinese University of Hong Kong came fourth.

The well-known Zhejiang University has risen to the fifth place this year. The other members of the top 10 includes the University of Hong Kong, the University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University and Taiwan University.

The ARWU's greater China ranking started in 2011. And it intends to cover mainly research universities that are now accepting students from all the four regions across the Straits.

It's reported by the Shanghai Observer, a local news website, that the 2017 list suggests a strong momentum in the development of the Chinese mainland universities, with multiple of them climbing over 10 places compared to the previous year's ranking.

“Economic growth and (government's) continuous investment in universities of Project 211, 985 and the (new) Double Top have brought mainland higher eduction remarkable progress in scientific research,” said Wang Xuejun, a senior researcher specializing in university rankings, while emphasizing there is still a long way to go from resources investment to improvements in influence.

Meanwhile, there remains a gap in capabilities to attract overseas students between mainland universities and their counterparts in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao. The Macao University of Science and Technology tops the list of universities with the highest proportions of overseas students. “This is the part Mainland universities should put more effort into,” said Wang Xuejun.

Mainland higher education tends to earn higher scores based on scientific research-related criterion decided by the Shanghai Ranking. For example, the Tsinghua University outrun all its competitors in “scientific research funds” and “international patents”, while Shanghai Jiaotong University tops all the others by “international papers” scores.

About the quality of teaching staff, Taiwan universities are acclaimed by the ranking to have the most teachers with doctoral degree. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is noted to be the only one with Nobel prize teachers. Besides, China Medical University in Taiwan is praised by the ranking to have most-cited scientists.

But the ranking is also criticized for its over-reliance on award factors and undermining the importance of quality of instruction and humanities.

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