HONG KONG - Hong Kong University (HKU), which jostles for places with the National University of Singapore in world rankings, is now vying for top A-level students from Singapore.
And because of the sizeable number of Singaporeans at HKU - 158, of whom about 90 are undergraduates - it will, from this year, be conducting admissions interviews in Singapore.
Asians, including Hong Kong residents, used to head to British, American and Australian universities, but are increasingly turning to other Asian countries these days, said HKU director of undergraduate admissions and international exchange John Spinks.
"The booming Asian economies present good job opportunities. It also helps that many Asian universities, including those in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, are rising in the world university league tables," Professor Spinks, who is here on a visit, told The Straits Times.
HKU, which offers all its courses in English, was placed 26th in the latest London-based education consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings, two places behind NUS.
Like NUS, HKU is a comprehensive research university offering a range of courses from medicine to arts and social sciences.
But Singaporeans tend to go for business, finance and economics-related courses. Many students who fail to get into medicine and dentistry in the local institutions also try for HKU.
According to Prof Spinks, Singaporeans entering HKU tend to have good A-level results, with many boasting three or four As. They also usually graduate with high grade-point averages, he said. HKU's yearly employment surveys show that close to 100 per cent of its graduates, including foreign students, land jobs within six to nine months of finishing their degrees, he added.
Undergraduate tuition fees for international students are HK$135,000 (S$22,000) a year, compared with the $9,000 business degree students pay at NUS.