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January 24, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Survey reveals universities turning out billionaires

SHANGHAI'S universities rank second in the country behind Beijing as cradles of billionaires and business tycoons.

The city's universities have contributed more than 100 billionaires in the past decade, according to a ranking by the China University Alumni Association.

Zhejiang Province took third place.

The ranking analyzed the educational background of nearly 2,500 of China's billionaire based on five domestic and overseas rich lists between 1999 and 2010.

"The report aims to encourage college students to set up their own enterprises and provide guidance to them," said Zhao Deguo, editor in chief of the association's website.

Peking University, Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University took the top three spots in the ranking with 79, 70 and 66 billionaire alumni respectively.

Shanghai's Fudan University was in the fourth place with 46 billionaires. Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University made up the Shanghai top three with 25 and nine billionaires respectively.

Internet guru Chen Tianqiao, who founded Shanda Interactive Entertainment after graduating from Fudan, was the Chinese mainland's richest person in 2005 with a wealth of some 12.5 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion).

The ranking was met with both praise and criticism.

Some people believe that universities should produce more millionaires and billionaires so that they could contribute to the society.

On the other hand, many felt that the ranking placed too high a value on monetary gain and not enough on the gaining of knowledge.

"Universities excel by nurturing scientists, writers and educators instead of billionaires or high-ranking officials," said Yu Yanluo in an online post.

"Universities which were once cradle of academic ideas have become production bases of the rich and officials," he said.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said: "The report provides an angle to evaluate universities because alumni's success reflects a university's educational quality."

However, he questioned whether billionaires had gained their success because of their education or through their own efforts.

The association found that 61 percent of China's billionaires were graduates from 400-plus domestic and overseas universities and institutions. Some 10 percent of the nation's wealthiest had studied abroad.


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