The Council of Graduate Schools released new data which showed a U turn for number of Chinese students applying to schools in the US.
Among regions tracked by the Council, India, Brazil and Africa saw significant gains in number of applications, while China, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and Europe saw decline. In the case of Chinese applicants, there is a 5% loss comparing year 2012 to 2013. It is a dramatic change because in three previous years, the number had been growing by 19%, 21% and 20% respectively.
One way of reading this change is that, in addition to many Chinese applied within the US, China had reached the same level of development with South Korea and European countries, when youth are no longer eyeing the US and the only viable path to success.
There are two Chinas on the mainland. Those who benefit from the economic reform and social heritage and those who do not. For the first group, their technical skills, income and purchase power are comparable to peers in developed countries. They are becoming less motivated to looking to the west. The second group which are comprised of roughly half of Chinese population are still too poor to think about studying abroad.
Hopefully, we will see the next bump when the fortune is trickled down to Chinese families who are still struggling for basic life needs.