XMU was founded in 1921 by entrepreneur Mr. Tan Kah Kee, the revered ‘Henry Ford of Asia,’ whose motto was ‘Education is a nation’s foundation, its promotion of the people’s responsibility’. In 1920, a year before construction began, Paul Hutchinson wrote, ‘When we think of the future days, it (XMU) is one of the most encouraging things to be seen in the whole of China’.

The first Overseas Chinese (though of Xiamen origin) to start a mainland university, Mr. Tan was both visionary and pragmatist, starting XMU with a business college and a teacher’s college—the former to teach business skills, the latter to ensure education’s sustainability. XMU’s first 6 disciplines were Commerce, Law, Education, Engineering, Science and Liberal Arts. With the motto of ‘Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection’, XMU set three goals: ‘Pursue knowledge, Educate students, and Promote awareness of world cultures’. In 1926, XMU became one of China’s first 3 universities to offer graduate education. After President SA, Bendong adopted ‘Quality before quantity’ as XMU’s education philosophy in 1937, XMU rapidly earned the reputation of ‘Strength of the South’, and in 1952 was designated one of China’s 14 comprehensive universities.

XMU, Fujian’s only key university, was designated a ‘national key university’ in 1963 and placed directly under MOE’s administration. Key universities receive more Central Government support. XMU was selected ‘211 Project’ in 1993 and ‘985 Project’ in 2000, and in 2005, adopted as its new goal, ‘Become an internationally renowned, research-led, quality university’.

XMU’s graduate school: 27 schools (and their 76 departments), and 14 research institutes cover economics, management, law, engineering, science, medicine, philosophy, literature, and history. XMU is well known for having 5 ‘NKDs’, 3 of which are in economics and management, covering 38 ‘NKDs’. XMU’s 2,541 full-time faculty included 22 members of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Engineering, and 1,779 professors and associate professors.

XMU has over 200,000 undergraduate and graduate alumni. It’s over 40,000 on-campus students include over 19,000 undergraduates, over 16,000 masters students, over 3,000 doctoral students, and over 3,000 students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and abroad. XMU confers doctorates in 31 categories and 185 majors, masters in 50 categories and 279 majors, and bachelors in 83 majors.

In 2012, XMU ranked 6th in the ‘Top 10 Research Institutes’, Nature Publishing Index, China 2011, by Nature, and the MOE has assessed 15 XMU subjects and disciplines, including Business Administration, as ‘Top 10’ for their categories. XMU has 150 research centres, including 26-post-doctoral research institutes, National Key Laboratories, National Laboratories, State Research Centres, a Key International Research and Cooperation Centre under the Ministry of Science, and the MOE Key Research Base in Humanities and Social Sciences.

XMU has well-equipped teaching and research facilities and an efficient public service system. Known as ‘China’s most beautiful university’, the 3 seaside campuses cover over 600 hectares, with 1.4 million m2 of facilities. Xiamen University’s 4th campus, the Malaysian Campus (XMUMC), was inaugurated in March, 2013. In February 2016, XMUMC enrolled the first batch of local students, with others from neighboring ASEAN countries and China to join them later in the year. A comprehensive university with the same programmes as the home school, its goal is 1/3 international faculty and 50% international students.

XMU has academic ties with over 200 institutions of higher education in the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, USA, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao, and has established 15 Confucius Colleges with 15 overseas universities.

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