Zhang Xin (businesswoman)

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.
Zhang Xin
Born (1965-08-24) 24 August 1965 (age 51)
Beijing, China
Alma mater University of Sussex
University of Cambridge[1]
Occupation CEO, SOHO China
Net worth Increase US$ 3.6 billion (May 2015)[2]
Religion Bahá'í Faith[3][4][5]
Spouse(s) Pan Shiyi
Children 2
Website www.sohochina.com

Zhang Xin (simplified Chinese: 张欣; traditional Chinese: 張欣; pinyin: Zhāng Xīn, born 1965) is a Chinese business magnate. She is co-founder and CEO of SOHO China, the largest commercial real estate developer in Beijing. As of 2014, she is listed as the 62nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[6]

As one of China's most celebrated female entrepreneurs, Zhang Xin has an online following of over 8 million fans on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

Zhang Xin and her husband Pan Shiyi founded the SOHO China Foundation in 2005 as a philanthropic organization to engage in education focused initiatives to alleviate poverty. In July 2014, the SOHO China Foundation announced the SOHO China Scholarships a US $100 million initiative to endow financial aid scholarships at leading international universities.[citation needed]

The SOHO China Foundation signed a US $15 million gift agreement with Harvard University in July 2014, and a US $10 million gift agreement with Yale University in October 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

In the 1950s, Zhang Xin's parents, third generation Burmese Chinese, left Burma and immigrated to China, leaving behind their confectionery business.[7][8] There, they worked as translators at the Bureau of Foreign Languages.[9] They separated during the Cultural Revolution.

Born in Beijing in 1965, Zhang Xin moved to Hong Kong at the age of 14 with her mother and lived in a room just big enough for two bunk beds. To save for an education abroad, she worked for five years in small factories that made garment and electronic products. As she has described, the 'conditions there were similar to those in mainland China today'.

By 19, she had saved enough for airfare to London and supporting herself for English study at secretarial school.[10] Later, she studied Economics at the University of Sussex. In 1992, she graduated with a master's degree in Development Economics from Cambridge University.[11] In 2013, Zhang Xin received honorary Doctor of Laws from her Alma Mater, University of Sussex.


Upon graduation, she was hired by Barings Plc to work in Hong Kong. She soon moved to Goldman Sachs and started working for the investment bank in New York City. In 1994, she switched to Travelers Group before returning to her hometown, Beijing. She co-founded Hongshi (meaning Red Stone), which became SOHO China, with her husband Pan Shiyi in 1995.[10]

The couple was described by The Times of London as 'China’s most visible and flamboyant property tycoons'.[9]

SOHO China is the largest prime office property developer in Beijing and Shanghai with 5.5 million square meters in developments. The company is widely acclaimed for its iconic landmark building designed by international architects such as Kengo Kuma , Seung H-Sang, LAB Architecture Studio and Zaha Hadid.

Zhang Xin has won many prestigious international awards for her role as a patron of visionary architecture in China and as an innovative entrepreneur. She won BusinessWeek´s Stars of Asia Award for the year of 2004, and was awarded a Special Prize at the 8th la Biennale di Venezia for Commune by the Great Wall, a private collection of architecture featuring the works of twelve Asian architects. Commune by the Great Wall is now a boutique hotel. She also received the Year 2004 Montblanc Arts Patronage Award.[12] In 2007, she was selected as one of the "Ten Women to Watch in Asia" by the Wall Street Journal. In 2008, she was listed among Forbes magazine's "World's Most Powerful Women". In 2009, Zhang Xin was included among Forbes’ "Top Ten Billionaire Women We Admire" and Financial Times’ "Top 50 Women in World Business". In March 2010, she was named among "China Top 10 Career Women Role Models in 2009" by the All-China Women’s Federation, China Sun Media Group, Sina.com and Hunan TV. In 2011, Zhang Xin was named among the "The International Power 50" of the "Most Powerful Women" by Fortune magazine, and was again recognized as one of "World's Most Powerful Women" by Forbes.

As of 2014, she is listed as the 62nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[6]

Zhang Xin is a member and Young Global Leader of World Economic Forum, Davos, a member of Asia Business Council, a member of the Global Board of Advisors of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Board Member of the Harvard Global Advisory Council. She served as a Trustee to the China Institute in America from 2005 to 2010, and was recognized by the China Institute with the Blue Cloud Award in 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Zhang Xin and her husband, Pan Shiyi, have been members of the Bahá'í Faith since 2005.[3][4][5] She also made a cameo appearance as a Chinese merchant in the 2010 film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.


  1. ^ "BBC Radio 4 profile of Zhang Xin by Justin Bolby". 
  2. ^ Chiou, Pauline (3 July 2013). "Richer than Trump or Oprah: Meet China's female property magnate". CNN. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Macau Daily Times: SOHO not interested in Macau’s casinos Archived 25 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (09-02-2010)
  4. ^ a b Forbes: A Billionaire Worth Rooting For? (12-03-2010)
  5. ^ a b MarketWatch: Chinese Billionaire Embraces Religion (06-03-2011)
  6. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Foster, Peter (27 June 2010). "Meet Zhang Xin, China's self-made billionairess". Telegraph UK. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Li, Ingrid. Zhang Xin: On the Return to China. Jorge Pinto Books. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9780977472413. 
  9. ^ a b Bettina von Hase (2008-08-02). "Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi: Beijing's It-couple". The Times of London. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  10. ^ a b William Mellor (September 2010). "Beijing Billionaire Who Grew Up With Mao Sees No Housing Bubble". Bloomberg Markets magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  11. ^ "Meet Zhang Xin, China's self-made billionairess". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Refer to "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2008. 

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