China vs UK: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?

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china vs uk

China and the UK are among the most popular study-abroad destinations for international students and very good reasons. These nations offer astounding quality of education via their prestigious universities and provide extensive employment opportunities. As both China and the UK are excellent countries to study in, it becomes obvious that international students often get confused between these two study-abroad destinations. If you are also facing any confusion in choosing between these two countries, then keep reading this blog. Here, we will do a detailed comparison between China and the UK. Towards the end of this article, we will finally deduce which country is best for studying in. We will clear all your doubts regarding China vs the UK in this blog. 

Parameters ChinaUK
Area9.597 Million KM²209,331 KM²
CurrencyChinese Yuan (¥)Pound Sterling (£)
Total Higher Education Providers3,012295 
Total Indian Students Studying23,000120,000
Average Cost of Living¥4,047.3£919 Per Month
Average Cost of Studying¥18,249 – ¥72,996 Per Year£10,000 to £38,000 Per Year
Popular Job SectorsTechnology, Accountancy and Finance, Teaching, Medicine, Marketing, and ManufacturingAccounting, Business, Banking and Finance, Consulting and Management, Creative Arts and Design, and Energy and utilities.
Permitted Part-Time Working Hours24 Hours Per Week 20 Hours Per Week

Top-Ranked Universities: China vs UK

Selecting the right career is very important if you want to excel in your career. A good university offers you the high-in-demand skills required in the field you wish to pursue. We have provided tables below that show the top universities in China and the UK. At the end of this section, we will award +2 points to the country which has the higher-ranked universities. 

Universities in China

Have a look at some of the top universities in China:

Top Universities in ChinaQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Peking University1714
Tsinghua University2512
Zhejiang University4455
Fudan University5044
Shanghai Jiao Tong University5143
University of Science and Technology of China13757
Nanjing University14173
Wuhan University194164
Tongji University216185
Harbin Institute of Technology256168

Universities in the UK 

Have a look at some of the best universities in the UK:

Top Universities in the UKQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
University of Cambridge2
University of Oxford31
Imperial College London610
UCL (University College London)922
The University of Edinburgh2229
University of Manchester3254
King’s College London, University of London4035
London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London4537
University of Bristol5576
University of Warwick67104
University of Leeds75128
University of Glasgow7682
Durham University78198
University of Southampton81108
University of Birmingham84108
University of St Andrews95201–250
University of Nottingham100130
University of Sheffield104114t
Newcastle University110139
Lancaster University122122

Which Country is Better?

The tables above imply that the universities in the UK hold a higher rank than the universities in China. As a result, the UK will be granted +2 points in this round of China vs UK. 

China vs UK top universities

Also Read: ANSO Scholarship for International Students in China

Admission Requirements

Before you plan to study in China or the UK, make sure that you understand the admission criteria in these countries. In this section, you will understand the admission criteria for the universities in each nation.

Admission Requirements For China

You need to submit the following documents to be eligible to be admitted to a university in China: 

  • Passport copy
  • A photo (passport size)
  • Graduation certificate (s)
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 recommendation letters (should be written and signed by your teachers/professors and contain their contact details)
  • Physical examination form- medical results
  • Personal statement
  • Bank statement

Admission Requirements For UK

Here are the admission requirements for the universities in the UK:

  • The students have to score 6.5 on IELTS, 70-100 on TOEFL, 54+ on PTE, and 105-120 on the Duolingo Test. 
  • The applicants should be able to submit the following documents:
  1. ID proof
  2. A valid passport
  3. Academic transcripts
  4. Letters of recommendation
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. English language proficiency scores
  7. Other exam scores, if any
  8. CV/ Resume
  9. The students are also required to apply for the Tier 4 student visa
  10. Portfolio (if applicable)
  11. Proof of funds and other bank statements 
  • The students need to have at least 65% marks in their Class 12 examination. 

Which Country is Better?

As we can see from the above comparison, the admission process in China is easier than in the UK. Hence, we will grant +2 points to China in this round of China vs UK. 

china vs uk admission requirements

Also Read: Scholarships in China

Tuition Fees

In this section, we are going to compare China and the UK in terms of educational expenses. The nation with the lowest tuition cost will be granted +2 points. 

Tuition Fees in China

According to the websites of the universities in China, the average yearly tuition fees in the country are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate ¥15,000 to ¥ 60,000 
Postgraduate¥18,000 to ¥90,000 
Doctoral¥20,000 to ¥50,000 

Tuition Fees in the UK

As per the websites of the universities in the UK, the average annual tuition fees in the country are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate £8,000 – £30,000
Doctoral£20,000 – £50,000

Which Country is Better?

The tables above demonstrate that the studying cost in China is lower than in the UK. Hence, China will receive +2 points in this round of China vs UK. 

china vs uk tuition fees

Also Read: Top Universities in China

Living Expenses

When an overseas student decides to study in a foreign nation, one of his/her main concerns is the cost of living. In this section, we compare the living expenses in China with the UK to find out which country has a lower cost of living. 

Cost of Living in China

The living expenses in China according to Numbeo are given in the table below: 

Monthly Rent ¥2,191.31 – ¥7,900.84
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)¥33,742.16 – ¥58,250.61
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal ¥25
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly)¥200
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)¥584.12

Cost of Living in the UK

The cost of living in the UK as per the Numbeo is given below: 

Monthly Rent £723.47 – £1,606.95
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)£3,333.25 – £4,456.38 
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal £15
Average Transportation Cost£67.9
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)£252.75

Which Country is Better?

The above comparison shows that the overall living expenses in China are lower than in the UK. As a result, China will receive +2 points in this section of our China vs UK contest. 

china vs uk living expenses

Also Read: Scholarships for MBBS in China

Work Permit and PR

Almost every international student studies abroad to find employment and eventually settle abroad. In this section, we will do a comparison between China and the UK in terms of obtaining a work visa and permanent residency.

Work Permit in China

Take a look at how a work permit is awarded in China: 

Eligibility Requirements for a Work Permit in China:

To apply for a Chinese work permit, you need to submit the documents listed below: 

  • A valid passport,
  • A completed application form, 
  • A passport-sized photograph, 
  • An approval document for commercial performances,
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate (applicable only for teaching positions),
  • Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of Enterprises from Foreign Countries,
  • Reference letter,
  • Issued by the Chinese government authorities for Cultural Affairs,
  • Clean criminal record,
  • Medical examination report from an authorized hospital,
  • Foreigners Work Permit notification letter issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC.

To receive the notification letter, your employer requires you to submit the following documents to the Labour Bureau:

  •     Degree or diploma (legalised and authenticated).
  •     Proof of at least two years of work experience in the relevant field,
  •     Your resume, 
  •     Verification of education or professional qualifications,
  •     Verification of employment history,
  •     A copy of the job contract,
  •     Physical examination record, and
  •     Information concerning any accompanying members.

Steps to Apply for a Chinese Work Permit

Follow the steps listed below to obtain a Chinese Work Permit:

Step 1: You must have been offered a job in China

Step 2: Once, you have secured a job, gather all the required documents.

Step 3: Now, proceed by applying for the Chinese work visa at the Chinese embassy/consulate, and pay the amount required. 

Step 4: Finally, receive your work visa after the completion of the process. 

The processing time for a Chinese work visa is roughly 4 working days, depending on how many applications are submitted to the embassy. 

PR in China

You can be granted a permanent residency visa regardless of your position or employer if you earn over ¥600,000 per year, pay your income taxes on time (¥120,000 or more annually), and have worked in Shanghai for over four years without any criminal record in your home country.

Work Permit in the UK

Here is how one receives a work permit in the UK: 

Eligibility Criteria for a Work Permit in the UK

You can obtain a work permit directly from the UK, In the UK, your employer is required to apply for the work permit on your behalf. 

To obtain a work permit in the UK, you are required to have:

  • Passport & travel history,
  • UK Job details, 
  • English Language Proficiency, 
  • Certificate of Sponsorship,
  • Educational and business credentials, and 
  • Evidence you are located outside the UK & employed by a non-UK-based company.

Apply for a Work Permit in the UK

The UK work visa is developed for highly skilled and qualified foreign workers who can give their contribute to the UK’s economic growth and productivity. This visa category is available to exceptional talent, entrepreneurs, and investors. 

This category covers professions of:

  • Doctors (Physicians);
  • IT specialists;
  • Entrepreneurs;
  • Engineers;
  • Scientists;
  • Innovators;
  • Finance experts;
  • Other

You usually get a decision on your work visa within 3 weeks of applying. 

PR in the UK

PR is also known as the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. In most situations, you have to continuously reside in the UK for a minimum period of 5 years before you apply for the UK PR. But keep in mind that the length of time to receive UK PR status is determined by the type of UK visa you hold.

Which Country is Better?

As you can see, it is easier to get a work permit and PR in the UK than in China. Hence, we are awarding +2 points to the UK in this round of our China vs UK.

china vs uk easier pr

Also Read: Highest Paying Jobs in China

Average Salaries: China vs UK

A fresh graduate in China earns an average salary of ¥5,990 per month, as per the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. On the other hand, the average annual wage is £29,500 after graduation in the UK, as noted by Indeed. Moreover, the average yearly salary of a postgraduate is £30,442 in the nation. 

Which Country is Better?

The above comparison implies that the average salary in the UK is more than the average salary in China. As a result, we will grant +2 points to the UK in this section of China vs UK. 

china vs uk better average salaries

Also Read: BTech in UK

Other Major Elements

Let’s understand some additional crucial things to consider when deciding where to study abroad. Here are some of these considerations: 


China falls in the temperate climate zone. Most of the country is cool, but the southern part is hot, and the northern region is quite frigid. On the other hand, the UK is known for being dreary, chilly, and rainy. 


Travelling to China is mostly safe, as long as you know where you are heading and stay alert. Tourists visit China from all over the world and the country poses no danger to anyone who follows the local rules and understands the local culture. Similarly, the UK is also a very safe country. Even though some parts of the UK are reportedly dangerous, the nation is completely safe for the most part. 

Culture for International Students

International students studying in China can have a very gratifying experience. But they may have to adapt themselves culturally and learn the local language to have a better experience. Coming to the UK, simple politeness is always expected in the country. British individuals like to hear ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, and they are known for being friendly. However, they can be reserved when they are talking to strangers, like in India. 

Also Read: MRes in the UK


After adding up China’s and the UK’s total scores, we find that both the countries have received a score of +6 each. As a result, there is no absolute winner and it is a tie.

china vs uk better study abroad destination

However, please keep in mind that both China and the UK have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, before you apply for admission to any of the country’s universities, carefully choose a degree. Consider the educational facilities and financial assistance available for the program that you chose to make a better-informed decision. Having said that, both China and the UK are excellent study-abroad destinations, providing equal opportunities to international students. 


Q1. Is China a good destination for international students?

Ans. Yes, along with the high-quality education, China offers great employment opportunities to students in areas like news media, travel, academics, and banking. 

Q2. Why the UK is a better study destination?

Ans. The UK houses top-notch universities that have one of the best academic standards globally, which makes it a popular destination for studying abroad. 

Q3. Is it worth moving to the UK from India?

Ans. Yes, moving to the UK is a great idea for students seeking quality education and international exposure. 

Related Reads:

Study in the UK: How to Relocate With an HND?Chinese Education System: Study in Chinese University
UKVI IELTS | IELTS UK Visas & ImmigrationStudy in China – The Most Influential Economy in the World
Top Courses in the UK to Get Permanent Residency (PR)Scholarships in China for International Students in 2024

So, this was all about China vs the UK. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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