• First Lady Michelle Obama at Peking University

First Lady Michelle Obama at Peking University (Photo : Getty Images)

Peking University, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in China, has recently purchased Foxcombe Hall, a 19th-century manor in Oxford to serve as its campus in the English university town, the Straits Times reported.

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Peking University successfully beat three other bidders and acquired the campus for £8.8 million or roughly 75 million Chinese yuan February of this year. One of the competitors, according to Professor Wen Hai, dean of Peking University, was as unnamed Oxford college.
In the end, Peking University won the bid for its tempting offer.

In an interview with Caixin, a financial magazine, Professor Wen also attributed the successful transaction to Peking University’s warm relations with the Communist Party.

The Boars Hill site will house the university’s HSBC Business School (PHBS), scheduled to open in 2018. According to the university dean, the campus will specialize on “professional knowledge of China’s economy, financial market and corporate management.”

Peking University has yet to decide on the number of students the campus will take on, and how much the two-year master’s program will cost.

The acquisition is a big step in China’s plans to elevate Chinese universities in relevant global rankings, “opening its higher education market to the world,” a statement from PHBS read.

Meanwhile, Lin Jianhua, president of Peking University, said in a statement that “It is our hope that the new initiative in Oxford will further strengthen the school’s international reputation, as well as its teaching and research capabilities.”

In addition, PHBS stated that post-Brexit, “the European Union and the Great Britain have become more competitive in their desire to enhance their relationship with China.”

For the past 40 years, the Open University has made great use of Foxcombe Hall. By May, the long-distance learning institution will have left the site.

The Open University will also close six other regional centers in the months to come, and will instead focus on student recruitment in its centers in Nottingham, Manchester and Milton Keynes, according to Oxford Mail.