Sixty years ago there were just 20 foreign students studying in China. By 2020, there should be 500,000.
That's what will happen if a plan released Tuesday by the Chinese Ministry of Education does what it sets out to do.
Easier visa access, an increase in the number of scholarships available and more English language courses are among the policies to be implemented by the MOE as it looks to open up China's institutes of higher education to the outside world.
Money, of course, will help make the wheels of this project spin and China is hoping that most of those predicted 500,000 will be self-funding - a group that has grown to quite staggering numbers in recent years.
Last year there were a record almost 240,000 international students studying in China, according to the MOE, with representatives from 190 countries and regions around the world. In 1950, there were just 20 - and they all came from within the former Soviet Union.
While not releasing specific numbers, the ministry rated South Korea as the country which sends the greatest number of students to China, followed by the United States and Japan.
"Though the majority of the almost 240,000 foreign students last year were still from Asia, the number of students from western countries also increased,'' a MOE spokesman told the China Daily newspaper.
He also said the ministry's new policy would help show "Chinese culture to the global community.''
The most popular universities for foreigners were the Beijing Language and Culture University, Peking University, Fudan University (Shanghai), Tsinghua University (Beijing) and the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, according to MOE.
China currently has mutual recognition agreements for degrees with 34 countries and regions in the world and has this year offered scholarships worth 800 million yuan (88 million euro) to overseas students.
MOE also put the increased interest for studying in China down to the country's impressive economic growth, a stable social environment and "cultural charm,'' according to reports.
Chinese Ministry of Education: http://www.moe.edu.cn