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Darla Moore School of Business

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IBCE (Hong Kong)

The International Business and Chinese Enterprise (IBCE) program is an intensive four-year study that educates future global business leaders within an original and practical format of study across regions. These students will be uniquely qualified to contribute to organizations and enterprises in the North American and Chinese business environments. The capacity to function within and across nations will prove to be of great enduring value over the course of IBCE students' careers.

The University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have partnered to form the International Business and Chinese Enterprise (IBCE) program. This selective four-year study is designed to develop students to operate and succeed in the Chinese business environment. The IBCE cohort will be made up of 14 students from USC and 21 students from CUHK who will study together for at least three years, taking courses on each other’s campuses while learning valuable teamwork and networking skills by relying on their peers for support when navigating a new country. The whole group takes the introductory international business course, IBUS 310, together in the fall of their third year. This program offers many tools for learning Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua). At the completion of their four years, students will be proficient in the language. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of Chinese business and culture, students will develop a ready-made network among Chinese and American cohort members and professionals in each market that will serve them well throughout their professional careers.

Year Breakdown

Year 1: Students spend their freshman year at USC.  They will spend the summer in Hong Kong participating in a language immersion program to accelerate their learning of Mandarin.

Year 2: USC students will travel to Hong Kong to unite with their CUHK counterparts.  During the summer, IBCE students will continue their Mandarin study in Mainland China or Taiwan by participating in additional immersion programs.

Year 3: Both USC and CUHK students come to study at USC together.

Year 4: The whole IBCE cohort will travel back to China together where they remain for their final year. USC students have the choice of finishing their final semester in Hong Kong or in South Carolina.


IBCE students pay only their home institution for tuition. During their year abroad, tuition will be assessed on an exchange basis — that is, they pay tuition to their home institutions rather than the university they visit. Exchange tuition is assessed at the in-state rate for USC students, regardless of residency status. Their housing and other living expenses will be based on the accommodations secured in-country and will vary accordingly. Students will pay the USC in-state tuition for 12 credits ($434 per credit) while attending the first summer language training at the Yale-China Chinese University of Hong Kong. While attending the second summer language training at Beijing Language and Culture University, students will pay an inclusive program fee including housing, language courses and culture events. IBCE students will also need to budget for travel expenses between home and CUHK as well as expenses related to cohort activities.

Students should expect additional costs including but not limited to airfare to and from Hong Kong, local transportation, local cell phone plan, mainland China visa and required group travel expenses.


Students in the IBCE program can double major in finance, accounting, economics, management science, marketing, real estate, or risk management and insurance. The curriculum is designed to be integrated across the two institutions, with preparation for the program beginning as freshmen. In today’s globalized world it is more important than ever to be able to communicate across borders, and with intensive summer immersion classes, students will graduate with high proficiency in Mandarin. CUHK boasts not only a prestigious and invigorating curriculum but also a strong alumni network, offering potential intern and job opportunities.

Life Abroad

IBCE students have the opportunity to delve into the business world while embracing cultural exchanges. Through this program they will learn the importance of mutual respect and tolerance as well as the value of a well-rounded education.

Chinese University of Hong Kong

CUHK aims to nurture students with both specialized knowledge and wisdom for life. The education experience is distinguished by bilingualism and multiculturalism with courses that broaden students’ perspectives and develop in them the ability to face the challenges of the business world. The university’s insistence on the highest standards of research has won it an enviable research reputation globally and boasts highly respected faculty and alumni. The college programs and activities offered by CUHK complement the formal curricula by encouraging intimate interaction among teachers, students and alumni.

The City and Language

Hong Kong is truly a cosmopolitan center of trade with a unique blend of Western and Eastern cultures and values. In 1997, Britain returned this region to Chinese rule, and Hong Kong became a specialized territory of China with a high degree of autonomy. The economic system of free trade remained, allowing commerce to continue to develop. Today, Hong Kong is still a central point for shipping and international trade and has rapidly increased in service sectors such as communications and finances.

Although, the main language spoken in Hong Kong is Cantonese, English and Mandarin are also officially recognized and commonly used in the region. IBCE students focus on gaining a high proficiency in Mandarin (Putonghua) Chinese during their time in Asia in order to develop their professional capacities and future bridges with mainland China. Prior knowledge of Chinese is not a prerequisite for admission into the program. All non-native speakers will take part in two intensive summer language studies, one in Hong Kong and one in Beijing.

The Culture

While Hong Kong culture has been highly influenced by European ideologies and business structure can often closely resemble North American business practices, most citizens still practice the ancient Chinese teachings and values found in Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Some examples of these teaching include Feng Shui, family solidarity, saving face and modesty. Christianity, Islam and other religious also coexist in the region.

Expect Hong Kong nationals to be motivated, highly educated and globalized. However, Chinese routes make them notorious for their indirect communication styles. Westerners entering these cultures have to learn to read between the lines. For example, a national will rarely say "no" straight out, and a nod of the head might not actually mean "yes."