Boris Johnson and George Osborne talk to students during their visit to Peking University (Reuters)

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has urged Chinese students to enrol at one of London's top universities.

Johnson made the call when he visited Beijing's prestigious Peking University with the UK Chancellor George Osborne.

China is by the far the biggest provider of overseas students to the UK, with 67,000 students in the UK, compared with 39,000 from India, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Both Johnson and Osborne hope to attract more overseas students to the capital, boosting the economy and helping maintain London's status as a leading global centre for education.

"I'm here to let students know that if they would like to study internationally, London's world class higher education intuitions will welcome them with open arms," Johnson declared during a question and answer session.

"In London we offer many acclaimed academic institutions that produce innovative scientists, business leaders and expert doctors.

"Our creative hubs from St Central Martins to Royal College of Art are filled with a plethora of international artistic master minds shaping the designs of things to come."

Johnson is on the second day of a six day trade mission to China as part of a drive to create jobs, skills and growth in the capital by promoting London as a major investment destination.

The controversial figure's aim is to forge closer ties with the Chinese and will see Johnson meeting with business leaders, key investors and senior politicians from the world's second largest economy.

The British government has tried to lure in more Chinese students by pledging that "London has more world class universities in the global top 40 than any other city on earth."

"The number of Chinese people studying in London is rising, with a record 15 ,000 last year, making China London's number one market for international students," said Johnson's office in a statement.

"London's universities offer more than 30,000 courses from accountancy to zoology and everything in-between. Business studies are still the city's most popular course."