In May 2015, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton opened Washington University’s China Office in Shanghai near Fudan University. Since then, the China Office has hosted workshops, provided support and local media coverage for Wrighton and others visiting Beijing and Shanghai, and established a social media presence. Now, more than 1,300 alumni and friends are connected on China’s popular WeChat, an instant
messaging and social media platform.
Behind every success is Bill Xu, the head of the China Office.
From 2007 to 2012, Xu worked for the university’s joint EMBA program with Fudan University. He left to head up another China office for a Singaporean university, but was recruited back by James V. Wertsch, PhD, vice chancellor for international relations and director
of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.
“We were fortunate to recruit Bill. He makes a big difference for us in Shanghai, and China more generally, as we strive to give Washington University the visibility it needs in this part of the world,” says Wertsch, who is also the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor in the
Department of Anthropology.
“The main goal of our office is to increase the university’s visibility in China,” Xu says. And it’s working. “When talking with people in China, quite a lot are impressed that we are such a great university. Previously, they didn’t hear too much about us.”
Xu also organizes alumni events, holds information sessions for WashU’s joint programs with Fudan, helps the admissions office recruit students and aids the career development office in locating opportunities for graduates.
“WashU has established official partnerships with some top universities in China, and it’s the biggest market outside of the U.S. for the university,” Xu says. “As the China market becomes more important, the China office will help the university become more firmly established.”