Xin on the Web
SOHO CHINA WEBSITE
Zhang is a Chines billionaire and a real estate developer, born in 1965, to Chinese parents of a Burmese descent. According to Forbes she is the seventh richest woman in the world with an estimated wealth of $3.6 billion.
Zhang parents were not rich, so she started working from an early age, her parents divorced upon the chines cultural revolution, she went to live with her mother where soon they moved to Hong Kong (here is a stepping stone towards what Zhang will achieve), she saved money to be able to study abroad, at the age of 19 she was able to afford to travel to the UK to study English at the secretarial school in Oxford and worked at a Fish and Chip restaurant to support herself while there, afterward, she got a scholarship to study Economics at Sussex University, and in 1992 she graduated with a master’s degree in development economics from Cambridge University, her thesis was about the privatization of China.
Her master thesis topic, Privatization of China, made her an attractive candidate by employers such as Barings which hired her, however, to her advantage Barings was acquired by Goldman Sachs so she was transferred to New York City, this is when she worked on helping to bring privatized Chinese factories to the stock exchange.
Along with her husband ‘Pan Shiyi’ they established SOHO China, which is today one of the most entrusted real estate development companies in China. One of SOHO China successful strategies is they rent their units to individual tenants instead of to just corporate owners. Zhang was named “The Woman Who Built China”.