In the era of globalisation, competition has also become global. In higher education, countries worldwide are attaching increasing importance to international ranking exercises and subscribing to the "world-class universities" paradigm, complemented by various strategies to benchmark with leading universities in order to enhance the global competitiveness of their universities. This is particularly so in Asia as it emerges as the centre of fast-growing economies of the world. Against this wider global policy backdrop, this article reviews major policies introduced and strategies employed by the government and universities/higher education institutions of Hong Kong in the quest for world-class status. It critically examines the "politics of competition" among institutions for both state and non-state resources, in recruiting and retaining global talent, and in internationalising their curricula in order to achieve their global aspirations. It also explores the intra-institutional "politics" within institutions involving tensions between teaching and research, and among different discipline areas.