There were 523,700 Chinese students studying abroad in 2015, an increase of 13.9 percent year on year, statistics released by the Ministry of Education have shown.
Of the 523,700 students, 25,900 were funded by the government, 16,000 by their employers, and 481,800 at their own expense, according to statistics made public on March 16.
The ministry said 409,100 Chinese students studying abroad returned to China in 2015, an increase of 12.1 percent from 2014, including 21,100 funded by the government, 14,200 by their employers, and 373,800 at their own expense.
The gap between the number of Chinese students studying abroad and that of those coming back has been narrowed in recent years, with the ratio down to 1.28 to 1 in 2015 from 3.15 to 1 in 2006, the ministry said.
Since the introduction of China’s reform and opening-up policy in 1978, more than 4 million Chinese students have studied abroad and more than 2.2 million of them have chosen to return to China after finishing their studies, accounting for 79.87 percent of the total.