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Students in Mumbai celebrate their U.S. visas. Photo: Pratik Chorge / Hindustan Times / Getty

For decades, the U.S. has been the No. 1 destination for international students seeking a foreign college or graduate school education. The U.K. has been second. But in recent years, China has suddenly appeared in the No. 3 slot, and Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, tells Axios that it is on track to overtake the U.K. and capture No. 2 this year.

Why it matters: A large percentage of entrepreneurs and workers in the U.S. tech industry is foreign-born, many of them former students at U.S. universities. President Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and mass shootings are deterring a still-unknown number of international students from studying in the United States.

  • "We have a real competition for international students," Goodman said.
  • Canada and France have made big pushes to attract those students, in addition to top-tier international graduates of U.S. programs, to work in their tech and science-based industries.
  • But less attention has been paid to China, which has put billions of dollars behind goals of dominating future industries around artificial intelligence, quantum computing and electric cars.

It's not clear where this fresh influx of students is from. Until 2015, the latest data available, South Koreans were the vast majority of international students in China, with Americans right behind them, according to the IIE.

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.