Although the number of foreign students studying on the Chinese mainland has increased steadily in the past eight years, it still falls far behind the number of Chinese students going abroad, a report released on Tuesday said.
According to the Annual Report on the Development of Chinese Students Studying Abroad 2013, there were 1.14 million Chinese studying overseas last year.
That compares with only 328,000 foreign students in China.
Published by the Center for China and Globalization, the report cites a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development done earlier this year showing that China lags behind 10 developed economies in terms of the number of international students.
The OECD said that China attracted only 1.8 per cent of international university students in 2011.
The US, the top destination for international students, attracted 17.5 per cent.
Only three universities on the Chinese mainland were ranked among the top 200 world-class universities, according to a worldwide university ranking in 2011-12 released by the Times Higher Education.
The report said Chinese universities are less competitive than many of their counterparts in developed economies in terms of faculty, curriculum and student management.
Liu Hong, a professor specialised in talent policies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the Chinese government should provide more subsidies to universities so they can recruit more global talent to improve teaching quality.