Tsinghua University has consolidated its rising rankings performance after topping the latest Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings, while Hong Kong University of Science and Technology now leads the special administrative region of China for the first time.
Tsinghua’s climb – which follows its rise in the 2019 editions of the World, Asia-Pacific and Emerging Economies rankings – is a result of a large boost in its score for teaching environment, as well as significant improvements in its scores for citation impact and international outlook. It replaces the National University of Singapore, which led the Asia ranking between 2016 and 2018 and drops one place to second. It is the first time a Chinese university has topped the Asia table.
Overall, 72 Chinese universities feature in the ranking, up from 63 last year, and 16 of its 26 institutions in the top 100 hold steady, rise or enter the list for the first time. One exception is Peking University, which drops two places to fifth – a consequence of declines in its research income and industry income scores.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is the top-ranked institution in the special administrative region of China for the first time and third overall after rising two places thanks to an improvement in its industry income and international outlook scores. The University of Hong Kong remains in fourth.
HKU is still top in the region in the World University Rankings because of the different metric weightings in the two tables. Research productivity, research income and industry income have more weight in the Asia rankings, while teaching and research reputation count for less. This reflects the fact that Asian universities tend to be younger than their Western counterparts and, therefore, are typically not as well known or well regarded across the world.
Japan is once again the most-represented nation in the ranking, with 103 institutions, up from 89 last year. However, while its top three universities have all held steady or risen in the table, the gap between its elite institutions and the rest of its higher education sector appears to be widening, with most of its lower-ranked institutions declining.
Elsewhere, Malaysia makes its debut in the top 40, with the University of Malaya rising eight places to joint 38th, largely thanks to improvements in its scores for teaching environment, citation impact and industry income, as well as a large boost in its international outlook score. Overall, six of the nine Malaysian universities that feature in the 2019 and 2018 tables have improved their overall score.
THE Asia University Rankings 2019: the top 10
|2019 rank||2018 rank||Institution||Country/region|
|2||1||National University of Singapore||Singapore|
|3||=5||Hong Kong University of Science and Technology||Hong Kong|
|4||4||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|6||=5||Nanyang Technological University, Singapore||Singapore|
|7||7||Chinese University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|8||8||The University of Tokyo||Japan|
|9||9||Seoul National University||South Korea|
|10||13||Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)||South Korea|