Critical Reflections on the Challenges and Strategies Associated with Internationalising Hong Kong’s Higher Education

  • Shun Wing NgEmail author
  • Sylvia Yee Fan Tang
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 28)


This article reports the findings of a research study that explored the emerging issues and challenges involved in attracting Asian students to pursue higher education in Hong Kong. The study found that internationalisation strategies at both the system and institutional levels attempted to address problems associated with exporting higher education and make studying in Hong Kong’s higher education system more attractive. These strategies were mainly driven by brain gain and income generation. Based on the research findings, higher education services should be promoted overseas in a way that transcends profit motivations, enhances students’ learning experiences and prepares students to be future leaders in a humanised environment.


Internationalisation Higher education Education hub Globalisation Promotion strategies Educational services World Trade Organization 


  1. Bauman, Z. (2002). Society under siege. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bohm, A., Davis, T., Meares, D., & Pearce, D. (2002). Global student mobility 2025: Forecasts of global Demand for international higher education. Sydney, Australia: IDP Education.Google Scholar
  3. Chapman, A., & Pyvis, D. (2006). Dilemmas in the formation of student identity in offshore higher education: A case study in Hong Kong. Education Review, 58(3), 291–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheng, Y. C., Ng, S. W., Cheung, C. K., Tang, S. Y. F., Choi, P. L., Yuen, Y. M., et al. (2009). Research report on promoting Hong Kong’s higher education services to markets other than Chinese Mainland. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Trade Development Council.Google Scholar
  5. Cheung, P. L. (2009). Building an education hub. China Daily Hong Kong Edition, September 25.Google Scholar
  6. Choi, P. L. (2008). Cross-border choice as identity investment: Cases of Malaysian and Indonesian ethnic Chinese students in Hong Kong. International Journal of Educational Reform, 17(3), 270–290.Google Scholar
  7. Choi, S., Khmalah, J. N., Kim, M., & Burg, J. E. (2014). Internationalization of a regional campus: Faculty perspectives. International Education, 43(2), 7–24.Google Scholar
  8. Crose, B. (2011). Internationalization of the higher education classroom: Strategies to facilitate intercultural learning. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 23(3), 388–395.Google Scholar
  9. Davis, D. (1989). Australian education: Information counselling offshore. In B. Williams (Ed.), Overseas students in Australia, policy and practice (pp. 57–88). Canberra, Australia: International Development Program.Google Scholar
  10. de Wit, H. (2002). Internationalization of higher education in the United States of America and Europe: A historical, comparative, and conceptual analysis. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  11. Doorbar, A., & Bateman, C. (2008). The growth of transnational higher education: The UK perspective. In L. Dunn & M. Wallace (Eds.), Teaching in transnational higher education: Enhancing learning for offshore international students (pp. 44–53). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Education & Manpower Bureau. (2006). Policy initiatives on education in the 2006–07 policy agenda. LC Paper No. CB(2)28/06-07(01).Google Scholar
  13. Egron-Polak, E., & Hudson, R. (2014). Internationalization of higher education: Growing expectations, fundamental values. The IAU 4th global survey report. Paris, France: International Association of Universities.Google Scholar
  14. Fok, W. K. P. (2007). Internationalization of higher education in Hong Kong. International Education Journal, 8(1), 184–193.Google Scholar
  15. Gopal, A. (2011). Internationalization of higher education: Preparing faculty to teach cross culturally. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 23(3), 373–381.Google Scholar
  16. Griggs, T. (1993). OZ becomes Asia’s classroom. Asian Business, November 10.Google Scholar
  17. Harman, G. (2005). Internationalization of Australian higher education: A critical review of literature and research. In P. Ninnes & M. Hellsten (Eds.), Internationalizing higher education (pp. 119–140). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hsiao, C. M. (2003). Transnational education marketing strategies for postsecondary program success in Asia: Experiences in Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China. Unpublished Doctor of Education thesis, The University of South Dakota.Google Scholar
  19. Institute of International Education. (2015). Leading places of origin.
  20. Jiang, N., & Carpenter, V. (2013). A case study of issues of strategy implementation in internationalization of higher education. International Journal of Educational Management, 27(1), 4–18.Google Scholar
  21. Jowi, J. Q. (2012). African universities in the global knowledge economy: The good and ugly of internationalization. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 22(1), 153–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knight, J. (2002). Trade in higher education services: The implications of GATT. London: The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.Google Scholar
  23. Knight, J. (2004). Internationalization remodeled: Definition, approaches, and rationales. Journal of Studies in International Education, 8(1), 5–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knight, J. (2006). Internationalization of higher education: New directions, new challenges. The 2005 IAU global survey report. Paris, France: International Association of Universities.Google Scholar
  25. Knight, J., & de Wit, H. (1995). Strategies for internationalization of higher education: Historical and conceptual perspectives. In H. de Wit (Ed.), Strategies for internationalization of higher education: A comparative study of Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States of America. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: European Association for International Education.Google Scholar
  26. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Lundin, R. (1993). Overseas experience in non-traditional modes of delivery in higher education using state-of-the-art technologies (DEET higher education division occasional paper). Canberra, Australia: AGPS.Google Scholar
  28. Mazzrol, T. (1998). Critical success factors for international education. International Journal of Educational Management, 12(4), 163–175.Google Scholar
  29. Mazzarol, T., & Hosie, T. (1996). Exporting Australian higher education: Future strategies in a maturing market. Quality Assurance in Education, 4(1), 37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, S. N. (2001). The global market for higher education: Sustainable competitive strategies for the new millennium. Northampton, MA: Edward Egler Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  31. Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2008). Expansion and diversification.
  32. Mok, K. H. (2007). Questing for internationalization of universities in Asia: Critical reflections. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(3–4), 433–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mok, K. H. (2008). Positioning as regional hub of higher education: Changing governance and regulatory reforms in Singapore and Malaysia. International Journal of Educational Reform, 17(3), 230–250.Google Scholar
  34. Mok, K. H., & Cheung, A. B. L. (2011). Global aspirations and strategizing for world-class status: New form of politics in higher education governance in Hong Kong. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 33(3), 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nelson, B. (2002). Higher education at the crossroads: An overview paper. Canberra, Australia: AusInfo.Google Scholar
  36. Ng, S. W. (2011). Can Hong Kong export its higher education services to the Asian markets? Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 10(2), 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ng, S. W. (2012a). The challenges of attracting Asian students to study higher education in Hong Kong. Higher Education Quarterly, 66(3), 272–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ng, S. W. (2012b). Rethinking the mission of internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region. Compare, 42(3), 439–459.Google Scholar
  39. Ng, S. W., & Tang, S. Y. F. (2008). The challenges and strategies of internationalizing Hong Kong’s higher education in a globalized world. International Journal of Educational Reform, 17(3), 251–269.Google Scholar
  40. Olds, K. (2007). Global assemblage: Singapore, foreign universities, and the construction of a global education hub. World Development, 35(6), 957–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Prescott, A., & Hellsten, M. (2006). Hanging together even with non-native speakers: The international student transition experience. In P. Ninnes & M. Hellsten (Eds.), Internationalizing higher education: Critical explorations of pedagogy and policy (pp. 75–95). Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre and Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Qiang, Z. (2003). Internationalization of higher education: Towards a conceptual framework. Policy Futures in Education, 1(2), 248–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Radnor, A. H. (2001). Researching your professional practice: Doing interpretive research. Buckingham, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Ryan, J., & Hellmundt, S. (2003). Excellence through diversity: Internationalization of curriculum and pedagogy. Paper presented at the 17th IDP Australian International Educational Conference, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  45. Shields, R. (2013). Globalization and international student mobility: A network analysis. Comparative Education Review, 57(4), 609–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Tobenkin, D. (2014). Internationalization strategies: The United Kingdom. International Educator, 23(6), 24–30.Google Scholar
  48. Tsang, Y. K. (2007). 2007–2008 policy address: A new direction for Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer.Google Scholar
  49. Tsang, Y. K. (2009). 2009–2010 policy address: Breaking new ground together. Hong Kong: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  50. Tsang, Y. K. (2011). 2011–2012 policy address agenda. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer.Google Scholar
  51. Tung, K. W. (2004). 2004–2005 policy address – Seizing opportunities for development, promoting people-based governance. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer.Google Scholar
  52. University Grant Committee. (2002). Higher education in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: University Grant Committee.Google Scholar
  53. University Grant Committee. (2004). Hong Kong higher education, to make a difference, to move with the times. Hong Kong: University Grant Committee.Google Scholar
  54. Vajargah, K. F., & Khoshnoodifar, M. (2013). Toward a distance education based strategy for internationalization of the curriculum in higher education of Iran. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 12(1), 147–160.Google Scholar
  55. World Trade Organization. (2007a). What is WTO?
  56. World Trade Organization. (2007b). Trade topics: Services GATS.
  57. Yonezawa, A. (2007). Strategies for the emerging global higher education market in East Asia: A comparative study of Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. Globalization, Societies and Education, 5(1), 125–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education Policy and LeadershipThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong SAR

Personalised recommendations