Skip to navigationSkip to content

China’s wealthy parents love British private schools

Chinese schoolchildren
We’re going to boarding school!
By Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

China’s rich are so enamored of overseas education that one in ten wealthy primary school kids, and nearly a quarter of all wealthy high school students, may be headed abroad to study.

A recent survey of wealthy Chinese found that more than 80% said they planned to send their children overseas to study at some point. The report (in Chinese) from research group Hurun asked 400 Chinese parents how they planned to educate their children. Many parents are now looking at primary, middle, and high schools overseas, as well as college:

And while the US remains the top destination for Chinese university students, Britain leads for younger children:

You could chalk it up to the reputation and legacy of Britain’s boarding schools. That’s an image that has been actively marketed overseas, and especially in China, as the Spectator reports:

A British education, like a Knightsbridge penthouse, has become a commodity to be bought by foreigners who don’t even think about money, or at least not in the way the rest of us do.
These parents will have watched Downton Abbey and want to buy their kids a piece of that — indeed, it is striking how many of the prospectuses of country schools feature a building which looks like a screen grab from Downton’s opening credits.

China’s domestic private schools, meanwhile, are also facing stiff competition from new mainland China-based branches of British private schools, which now have over 5,000 students enrolled.

Zheping Huang contributed reporting.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.