Universities worldwide now encounter fargreater challenges, and are subjected to anunprecedented level of external scrutiny. Thechange in governance ideology in the highereducation sector has altered the way in whichuniversities are managed, a phenomenonidentified by Slaughter and Leslie as academiccapitalism. This article examines how Chineseuniversities are responding to this phenomenonin their cultural complexity and socialcontexts, using South China University ofTechnology as an example. At the same time, theconcepts of globalisation andinternationalisation are taken as salientfeatures of our times, and are often mistakenlyused interchangeably. This article argues thatthey are fundamentally different, reflectingphenomena with different rationales, objectivesand effects. By presenting an analysis ofChina's internationalisation of highereducation through an in-depth case study thefindings of this study shed light on thegeneral current state of internationalisationin the mainstream of China's higher education,and underscores the idea that changesattributed to globalisation are modified andfashioned by the particular circumstances andchoices of local institutions. The studyvividly reveals how local circumstancescan be used to manage the global within thelocal. It reports how the selected casecontinues to develop in the context of markettransition and globalisation.