As nations successfully compete on the global market and grow in wealth they also grow in academic stature. Likely one of the reasons why the U.S. has an academic crisis. China is becoming a destination for Asian students and fast becoming a regional intellectual power. This may also be part of the reason why they are also beginning to innovate versus just borrow and copy technology.
According to an article in Channel News Asia there are 80,000 students from Southeast Asia enrolled in Chinese Universities. That is an increase of 15 percent. The trend will likely continue as China seeks to push for regional dominance and become a super power.
Universities are a sign that an economy is doing well. When there is greater need to train the masses to fill jobs, new inventions, and intellectual activity ranging from the practical to the poetic you will find an economy growing. The height of civilization rests in the top crust of intellectual thinkers creating new and exciting things.
Most empires have a golden age that symbolizes their top. Growth in universities and growth in international students should be of concern to American leaders that we are slowly being overtaken by the large Asian nation. While it may not be a popular opinion it should spur action to do something different.