Asian Correspondent » Hong Kong Polytechnic University Asian Correspondent Tue, 26 May 2015 23:48:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vietnamese students choosing Hong Kong for study Tue, 09 Aug 2011 12:52:42 +0000 By Kritika Seksaria

Over the years, Singapore and Australia have established themselves as educational hubs of the Asia Pacific. Students from Asia have been swarming and saturating these countries in order to find a higher level of education than other parts of the continent.

Hong Kong, however, in the recent past has remarkably developed in terms of the standard of higher education. This is a benefit not only to the country itself, but also neighbouring countries, most importantly, Vietnam.

Vietnam’s booming economy acts as a catalyst for young Vietnamese to study outside their country. Since the war, Vietnam has come a long way becoming one of the most lucrative spots for foreign investment and exports.

Moreover, according to the Jakarta Globe, it is the world’s 13th most populous country and enjoys a young demographic, thus indicating the company’s large market and energetic labour force. The article suggests that its third major strength lies in its human capital. The Vietnamese people are known for their keenness to increase their standard of living through hard work, their commitment to education, entrepreneurship and for their willingness to seize opportunities.

Its other major strength is political stability, on which the World Bank ranks it well ahead of its Asian peers, including China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

As it may be evident, Vietnam has overtaken China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines with respect to Internet penetration and the number of students studying in the United States per 100,000 population. An article in the New York Times mentions:

Return of a Diaspora — people who had fled the country during war, has been helpful. Thousands of overseas Vietnamese have come home after learning English, gaining entrepreneurial experience and acquiring technical skills.

According to The Economist, an alternate way to measure progress is urbanisation and the demographic transition. In 2009, 12% of Vietnam’s people lived in cities of more than 1 million residents.

Hong Kong general view. Pic:AP

On the other hand, Hong Kong’s increasing standard in education makes it a viable location for Vietnamese students to pursue higher studies. The medium of education is English and the degrees and qualifications from Hong Kong are recognised worldwide.

A report from Times London states that from 2012, prominent eight universities of the city will switch to four-year degrees. This move is a chance to provide more liberal courses.

Also, the new Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) has been given a points tariff by the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which will make it possible for Hong Kong students to enter British universities directly.

Therefore, as the Vietnamese economy rises, simultaneously Hong Kong establishes an international standard in education, as a result making it a convenient yet advantageous option for Vietnamese students.

However, Hong Kong’s educational development is specifically relevant and valuable to the Vietnamese because of the history of people from Vietnam settling in Hong Kong. Thus they have the comfort of a Vietnamese community already established in the city.

Their history dates back to the Vietnam War when victims fled to Hong Kong as refugees and Hong Kong declared itself as the port of first asylum. Large number of refugees kept swarming into the city over the year,s sometimes leading to 300 a day in the late 1980s. After a failed orderly repatriation program, the Hong Kong government had to enforce the forceful repatriation program.

Nevertheless, in the 2000s, the government has decided to widen a local resettlement scheme for Vietnamese refugees to allow 1400 Vietnamese to apply for residency in Hong Kong in order to deal with the residual problems of Vietnamese Refugees and Vietnamese Migrants.

The government also enforces complete integration of refugees and their children born in Hong Kong.

Pic: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Therefore, besides just the fact the two places are close by, they have a rich history of cultural binding. Having a Vietnamese community in Hong Kong will make students from Vietnam feel more at home while studying and living in Hong Kong.

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Increasing importance of social media in education Tue, 02 Aug 2011 12:56:14 +0000 By Jon Russell

It has revolutionised the way people communicate today, it has spawned a new generation of communication for companies to use …yes, social media has already made a big impact in less than five years of its existence.

Whether one looks at the rise and dominance of Facebook or Twitter in Southeast Asia, China’s huge online population and its own unique social media landscape, or Japan and its mobile internet obsession – social media is huge in Asia.

Like the West, social media presents a huge opportunity for schools, universities and other educational organisations to reach out and connect with students and prospective students.

But how can schools and universities go about using social media in a positive way to help both students and the educational organisations themselves?

The traditional paradigm in which assignments are given out in class, written on paper (or by PC) and discussed in a classroom is more flexible than ever before. The internet, and social media, have revolutionised the way that we communicate with our friends, and even those that we don’t know…or don’t yet know.

This same revolution has a hugely positive potential for the education system to help engage and develop students.

The Singapore Management University example

One notable example comes from Singapore where Professor Michael Netzely, an expatriated American, teaches at the Singapore Management University. His course, based around internet communications, leans heavily on social media. However, rather than teaching from books, Netzley encourages his students to go out and learn by ‘getting their hands dirty’ on the likes of Blogger, WordPress, Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook and other social media platforms.

As well as providing an obvious synergy with the subject of online communications, the approach allows students greater creativity and freedom to develop their communication skills.


The piece de resistance for Netzley and his students is the Digital Media Asia Wiki – a website designed, written and created by the students. The wiki is the only one of its kind in Asia where social media has rapidly developed a huge following.

The wiki provides details of the digital media landscape, including statistics, narrated examples, infographics, and interviews with local experts, making it a hugely useful resource for any company involved in the online industry in the continent.

Already, the wiki has received coverage by top media outlets, such as the New York Times, and prompted the director of social media for Ogilvy Asia to offer a number of Netzley’s students prestigious internships at the company’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

Taking the Singapore Management University example, what are the key benefits of social media for students and educational organisations?

Online portfolio

Using social media to give students hands-one experience can be adapted to fit almost any course. Rather than written assignments, a blog or creative project – such as the Digital Media Asia Wiki – can be assigned.

An added benefit for students using social media for course work is that, once published online, it forms the beginning of an online portfolio visible, and marketable, to future employees. Building an online portfolio or establishing a hobby such as blogging, or social networking, helps demonstrate skills and understanding, and network with potentially useful contacts for the future.

Pic: AP

Development of core skills

As the internet continues to remain a key communication channel for companies, so candidates with strong experience and skills within online channels, such as social media, are sought by employers. The opportunity to blog and develop these communication skills whilst studying enables students to stand out and develop key skills which make them more attractive to future employers.

For example, Asian Correspondent’s own Saksith Saiyasombut, the driving force behind the Siam Voices blog, has used social media and the Internet to become a noted Thai politics blogger and popular social media figure in the country, despite the fact that he is still an undergraduate student based in Hamburg, Germany.

Improved communication

It is well known that young people are the most passionate users of social media. Social media is a key part of the Internet experience for many who have been using Facebook and Twitter for years. Online media offers a potentially engaging channel for course communication and engagement.

SMU’s Netzley makes strong use of Twitter, tweeting interesting links to his students and communicating key topics, reminders of deadlines and engaging with his students by using hashtags.

Equally, a Facebook group or Google+ circle could be used to channel communication and help engage students with course work and learning topics.


Competition for university places is hot, both amongst students competing to enter their chosen university and the education organisations themselves fighting for attention to be the destination of choice for potential students.

Increasingly educational establishments are utilising social media as part of their communications in the same way that companies have done over the last few years.

Adverts on Facebook, or regular content on Twitter, can be used to share interesting links, student information and gain the attention of potential students online. Traditional media still plays a key role in recruiting new students but equally so does social media, and the opportunity to personalise a message and content compliments traditional means to help raise visibility.

And the future…

That is just a snapshot of some of the ways that social media can be used to develop areas of the educational system. The future could see even greater integration of social media with location-based services, more personalised content to mobile devices and greater usage of tablet PCs – these are just three of the tech trends which could positively impact education amongst an ocean of possibility.

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India builds education links with Hong Kong Thu, 28 Jul 2011 05:06:12 +0000 By Sriram Vadlamani*

When it comes to overseas education, the US is the first destination which enters many people’s minds. Canada, Australia and the UK are typically the second choices for Indian students. Of late, however, another destination has opened up to Indian students in Asia itself – Hong Kong. With two universities in the world top 100, Hong Kong is a great choice for Indian students looking for higher education. In fact, Australia is losing favor with Indian student community, which is gradually shifting to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has a small but growing Indian diaspora of 27,000 people. In 2010, Hong Kong opened an education centre in India to further strengthen the image of Hong Kong here. A $1bn (HK) scholarship fund has been set-up for international students and a PhD fellowship scheme has also been launched for students who want to pursue research studies. Successful PhD students stand to receive a HK$240,000 a year for stipend and other research activities.

Students can stay 12 months after graduation in search of a work and beyond 12 months if they find employment. Hong Kong has an impressive 95% employment rate for graduates. The typical tuition costs between US$9,000 and US$13,000 per year, which is what many Indian institutions are charging now.

Institutions in Hong Kong teach in English while preserving the Chinese language and culture. Given the proximity of Hong Kong to China and other business centers, business management students will find studying in Hong Kong especially attractive and lucrative. Outside business management, Indian students have shown interest in arts and humanities too. Science and technology are also obvious choices for Indian students and Hong Kong provides great opportunities in these fields.

Hong Kong, a melting pot where Western and Eastern cultures meet, is a great destination for Indian students.

*Sriram Vadlamani is an independent blogger living in Bangalore, India. He works for a conglomerate as an IT professional. You can read his blog,
Indianomics, here.

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Hong Kong: A global education in the heart of Asia Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:00:17 +0000 The post-high school conundrum is not unfamiliar to Malaysian students: where should they go for a tertiary education? Should they stay in the country or leave?

While Malaysia is home to many overseas and local reputable educational institutions – institutions such as Monash University, Curtin University of Technology, and the University of Nottingham in Malaysia have set up local campuses; competitive local universities such as the University of Malaya have also attracted a fair number of students – many still opt to leave the country for a tertiary education overseas. The demand for an overseas education is growing, largely due to the exposure and experience that being educated in a foreign place can provide.

Although universities in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada have traditionally been popular choices of Malaysian students, Asian universities are now highly sought after. Among these Asian universities, Hong Kong universities have increasingly become the preferred choice of Malaysian students who choose to stay close to home, in the Asian region.

Pic: Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The demand for Hong Kong universities might appear puzzling, or even surprising, but the unique education that some of these institutions offer is one that is competitive, broadens perspectives, and is geared toward expanding employment opportunities for students. A number of these institutions – University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Hong Kong Baptist University – are also ranked in the top 200 in The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011.

Perhaps a potential worry of non-Mandarin or Cantonese speaking students would be the language factor, but classes in Hong Kong universities are conducted in English by experienced professors. Malaysian students of other ethnicities should not fear a culture shock either, because the city is largely cosmopolitan, and certain institutions, such as The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, have mentorship programs and host family schemes to help students settle into life in Hong Kong.

Pic; AP.

In this increasingly globalized world, adopting a global perspective on issues has become imperative. Hong Kong universities place an emphasis on broadening students’ perspectives and to strive to develop students into global citizens through its student exchange programs with a list of partner universities. More importantly, placement or internship programs as part of some institutions’ “Work-Integrated Education” is a top priority. Being close to Mainland China also expands business opportunities for those students who intend to network with both Chinese professionals and foreign expatriates. The cost of an education in Hong Kong is relatively cheap as compared to an education in the West. Furthermore, international students are eligible for post-entry scholarships or prizes that can help to offset some of the tuition fees.

Asia is quickly gaining popularity as a study destination, where it is recognized that the quality of education is not solely dependent on the type of certificate offered, but the exposure and experience that the education offers matter greatly as well. Hong Kong universities provide this sort of unique quality education for Malaysian students, one that is global, and centered in Asia.

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Trade ties bind Hong Kong, South Korea Sat, 02 Jul 2011 07:15:39 +0000

By Andy Jackson

Talk to typical South Koreans about Hong Kong and the things most likely to their minds are shopping and nightlife.

To be sure, the almost 900,000 Koreans who went to or through Hong Kong last year did plenty of both. However, the core strength of the economic relationship between South Korea is not in the extensive retail or tourism exchange between the two (228,000 people visited South Korea from Hong Kong last year), but how their manufacturing and trade sectors compliment each other.

Hong Kong is an important source of components for South Korea’s manufacturing industry. South Korea is the eighth largest destination for Hong Kong-made exports, most of which are re-exported to third countries. A listing of Hong Kong exports to South Korea underscores the importance of Hong Kong manufacturers to South Korea’s export-driven economy:

Major Hong Kong exports to South Korea in the first quarter of 2011 included: semiconductors, electronic valves and tubes (US$458 million, 23.6% of total, +29.0% YoY), telecommunications equipment and parts (US$280 million, 14.4% of total, -0.2% YoY), and parts and accessories of office machines (US$168 million, 8.6% of total, +99.3% YoY).

Hong Kong, as a gateway to China and southeast Asia, also serves as an important conduit for South Korean products. The majority of South Korean products that make their way to Hong Kong are eventually sent on to other destinations. That importance as a trade hub is one of the reasons that there are about 500 South Korean business enterprises located in Hong Kong.

Seoul has long understood the importance of Hong Kong and has had an official presense there since the establishment of the Republic of Korea’s Hong Kong consulate in May of 1949, less than a year after Seoul regained sovereignty from the US military following World War 2. The two have also had regular exchanges of government  and business officials over the years.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (left) and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Tsang talk business in Seoul in 2009. (AP / Jo Bo-hee photo)

One of those exchanges was a pair of seminars in Busan and Seoul last April by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

Ms. Jennie Chok, Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, told the gatherings of Korean officials and businesspeople that trade between South Korean and Hong Kong have rebounded strongly following the worldwide economic slump.  Trade between the two grew by 28% last year.

Among other advantages, Chok said that Hong Kong offers Korean investors a way to take advantage of China’s continued rapid growth by making Hong Kong a free-market oriented conduit for investment:

Another area of opportunity lies in Hong Kong’s role as an offshore Renminbi (RMB) Centre.

Hong Kong is the only place outside Mainland China that hosts an RMB bond market. There was a significant expansion in the range of issuers of RMB bonds last year, with issues by Hong Kong and multinational companies and even the Asian Development Bank. Overseas companies are encouraged to issue RMB bonds in Hong Kong.

So why not just invest directly in China and cut out the middleman?

Chok certainly is not going to say anything bad about China, but she not shy about listing the advantages of investing in Hong Kong: a free economy, the rule of law, a low and simple tax system, and a business-friendly environment where all firms can compete on a level-playing field.  That listing is an implicit critique of the dangers of investing in mainland China and a reminder that there is still greater risk involved with foreign direct investment there.

Those realities, and the deep roots Koreans have set in Hong Kong, mean that the city will remain a strong part of South Korea’s trade and finance strategy.

Andy Jackson is an adjunct instructor of political science at North Carolina Wesleyan College. He lived in Korea for a decade and has been writing on East Asian issues and Korean politics for five years, including a three-year run as a columnist with the Korea Times. You can read his blog here.

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Eastern promise draws UK students to Hong Kong Wed, 22 Jun 2011 05:05:49 +0000 By Shayoni Sarkar

The modern Chinese city that has often been recognised as the most westernised city in Asia, Hong Kong is a thriving society of economic growth and influence. It brings together cultures, traditions and ethnicities from across the world, and proudly boasts to be the financial and tourism hub of the continent. With the perfect mix of a busy, cosmopolitan atmosphere found in bustling capital cities and the beautiful serenity of nature that the mountains of Lantau command, Hong Kong has positioned itself as a versatile market leader ranging from the fiscal world right up to education.

The city has gained an impeccable reputation for being home to some of the finest institutions of higher learning in the continent that command the highest respect in global education. It’s no wonder then that Hong Kong is quickly becoming an education destination of choice for students not just from other countries in Asia but across the world – and the United Kingdom is not to be left behind.

Hong Kong

Pic: AP.

Hong Kong’s history as a former British colony lends the city a unique characteristic that forms an integral tool in the city’s educational prominence. As a city that is fluent in the English language and has almost all its leading universities offer programmes in English, adds tremendous value to an education here – one of the more important reasons behind Hong Kong’s success in the field of higher education compared to its Asian counterparts.

An education in English, which is unanimously recognised as one of the most important languages in the world, allows students to excel not just in the global job market but also greatly assists them with their research. This further allows for a welcoming environment for British students, who are drawn not just by the colonial history they share with the city but also an assurance of being educated in an English-speaking society all the while being absorbed in a truly Asian adventure. And this is not an unfounded reasoning, seeing as English is often the only language a Briton is fluent in.

Hong Kong education boosts its international applicants by engaging in a large number of exchange programmes with universities held in the highest repute in the West – a starting point to an introduction to a Hong Kong education for Britons who may later consider pursuing a postgraduate degree in this colourful Asian city.

Institutions like Poly U are leading the way when it comes to education in Hong Kong. Pic: Poly U.

Its strategic partnerships, such as that with the British Council, increase its popularity and presence within British society. Hong Kong is one of the leading markets for UK education taught overseas with the UK holding an approximate 60% market share of transnational education in the Asian city; a 2009 report estimates 740 programmes in Hong Kong being offered by the UK, ahead of Australia and the US. Such strong ties serve as continuing incentive for British students to decide on higher education in Hong Kong.

A city that promises to dispense a high level of international education whist allowing students to undertake a truly Asian experience without compromising on the luxuries enjoyed in the West – Hong Kong is playing its cards right in becoming the rising star of global education destinations.

To find out more about Hong Kong Polytechnic University, visit the website here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shayoni Sarkar is an Indian journalist based in Britain. Shayoni holds a Master’s degree from Cardiff University’s JOMEC and a BA (Hons.) from India’s Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Her Asian Correspondent blog, ‘Asian Ink’, can be found here.

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