US tycoon's China scholars project opens doors in Beijing

A Wall Street tycoon has launched a new scholarship program intended to rival the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships and build understanding between China and the world.

The program founded by Stephen Schwarzman opened its doors at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University on Saturday.

It covers all expenses for students in a one-year master's degree program that will also emphasize cultural immersion, travel around the vast country and efforts to grasp and understanding the world's second-largest economy and rising superpower.

Chosen from more than 3,000 applicants, the 110 Schwarzman Scholars represent 32 countries with 44 percent from the United States and 21 percent from China. The program hopes eventually to provide support for as many as 200 scholars yearly.

Schwarzman told The Associated Press he hopes to develop future "people of influence."