A China Alumni Association Group has been launched by Queen's University Belfast at an event in Shenzhen.
Queen's, which is the 25th most international university in the world, has over 2,000 alumni in China – the University's biggest alumni network outside of the UK and Ireland.
Professor Ian Greer announced the news on his first visit to China as Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast.
He commented: "Queen's is very proud of its strong connections to China. We currently have a vibrant Chinese community of over 1,000 students on campus in Belfast and over 2,000 alumni in China and I am delighted that we now have a China Alumni Association.
"At Queen's, we have been developing strategic partnerships in China for more than 20 years and over the last 10 years have invested over $10m in joint research in areas such as sustainable energy, food security and advanced cancer therapy."
Professor Greer added: "I have been able to see first-hand how our Chinese students not only enrich our University but go on to make significant contributions to global academia, industry and civil society."
Dr Zhile Yang is Secretary for the Association. He said: "The number of Queen's alumni in China is growing very rapidly and we are delighted that we have been able to launch the Association at the Shenzhen event."
Alumni from Queen's University Belfast have been making a major impact in China since its foundation. Sir Robert Hart, who graduated from Queen's in 1853 at the age of 18, went on to become Inspector-General of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service. He also helped establish the postal service, lighthouses, imperial navy and meteorological service.
Prior to the event in Shenzhen, Professor Greer met with the Presidents of the E9 excellence league of top engineering Universities in China. At the meeting he discussed the role of universities in contributing to economic growth and development.
Professor Greer said: "The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of our alumni have not only helped Northern Ireland to be successful with new start-ups in the UK, they have also contributed significantly to global industry."
Queen's and Southeast University lead the UK-China University Consortium on Engineering Education and Research, which is aimed at building higher education links and helping to improve the quality of engineering research and teaching.
As part of the Consortium Queen's has developed the Future Leadership and Innovation Academy which is now in its second year and has so far brought together 56 students from 18 different institutions across the UK and China.
Just last week, Professor Greer announced nine further scholarships for joint PhD students – between Queen's University Belfast and the Consortium's China partners.