The article reviews the global landscape of higher education with the anticipation of an emerging Chinese institutional architecture in Asia-Pacific higher education. It starts with a theoretical framework for analyzing the functionalities of values and institutions in international higher education by adopting Joseph Nye's concept of soft power. In particular, it considers the Chinese cultural values and ranking systems/citations indexes as resources projecting the soft power of China in the arena of higher education. While China still plays the role of norm taker in the existing geopolitical sphere of knowledge construction, this article argues the possibility that China will change its role to norm setter by examining its potential institutional architecture in knowledge construction. On this basis, it argues that China may be able to increase its influence in higher education in the region through promoting China's academic practices and standards. Copyright © 2014 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.