This study identifies the (global) common goods produced and augmented by inward student mobility and its relevance to national policies and strategies in China by interviewing 27 policy-makers, university leaders, and academics, as well as international students. Most importantly, it develops a new framework for interpreting inward student mobility through the lens of (global) common goods, with benefit, influence, and balance as the three key elements. The findings of this study indicate that inward international students contribute to global common goods in the aspects of cultural diversity, global talents, improved policies, and practices, etc. (benefit). Key policies related to inward international students are generally supportive, and meanwhile compatible with these global common goods to a large extent (influence). Though some problems and tensions are observed in this study, constructive solutions have already been proposed by both the Chinese government and HEIs (balance).