Tsinghua University has overtaken Peking University for the first time and was named the best higher education institution on the Chinese mainland in the latest Times Higher Education report.
The World University Rankings 2019 listing puts Tsinghua University in 22nd place globally, followed by Peking University in 31st.
Tsinghua University finished ahead of the National University of Singapore, which was 23rd globally, to be named the best university in Asia. It was the first time that a Chinese university has held the title under the current methodology introduced in 2011.
Tsinghua University rose eight places in the latest rankings while Peking University slipped four places.
Tsinghua overtook the London School of Economics and Political Science, which is 26th, and New York University, which is 27th.
Tsinghua is now in sixth place globally in terms of the volume, income and reputation of its research, putting it above Princeton, Yale and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.
Tsinghua's rise was driven largely by improvements to its teaching environment, while Peking's decline was mainly attributed to increased competition and a fall in research income.
The Chinese mainland was the region with the fourth-largest population of universities listed. Some 72 made the list this year, up from 63 last year. The mainland has seven institutions in the elite top 200 and several strong performers this year.
Its highest-ranked new entrant, Shenzhen's Southern University of Science and Technology, which was only established in 2011, made its debut in the listing's global top 350, with a particularly strong citation impact score reflecting its research influence. Zhejiang University climbed a staggering 76 places to 101st, thanks to improvements in its teaching and learning environment, as well as research and industry income, research volume and its proportion of international students.
Four of Hong Kong's six representatives rose up the table, with five making the top 200 for the third consecutive year, despite increased global competition.
Its leading institution, the University of Hong Kong, moved up four places to 36th, with significant improvements in its teaching environment scores putting it above Canada's University of British Columbia, and King's College London.
Taiwan has 32 institutions in this year's global listing, up from 31, but most of them have static or declining performances.
Phil Baty, Times Higher Education editorial director of global rankings, said: "China has positioned its universities at the heart of its national economic growth strategy, reaping the benefits year-on-year. China's formula for success－strengthening its international outlook and global partnerships, sustaining heavy investment in lead institutions, an intense focus on attracting and retaining the best global talent－is boosting its reputation and influence worldwide, and other emerging nations have begun to emulate it. These nations could well challenge the continued Anglo-American dominance of the rankings in future years."
Oxford University finished in first place for the third consecutive year, also topping the list for research. Cambridge University was in second.
The United States remains the nation with the most universities listed, with 172 institutions included, which is up from 157. Its best performer, Stanford University, finished in third. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology rose one place to finish in fourth and the California Institute of Technology fell from last year's joint-third to fifth.