A major cluster of economic engines that have changed Asian higher education, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have all developed high-income societies as well as world-class universities which linked local “knowledge economies” to global science and created hubs for international collaborations and mobility. However, there has been limited analysis of interdependencies between the rise of world-class universities and changes in the flows of international talent. This paper elaborates on the concept of higher education internationalization that aims at enhancing geopolitical equity in global mobility and re-positioning local students for improved access to the world-class excellence. The paper compares key themes and patterns that define the Tiger societies’ unique positions in the field of global higher education. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).