|Birth Day:||August 24, 1965|
|Birth Place:||Beijing, China, China|
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Born in Beijing in 1965, Zhang remained with her mother after the separation of her parents, moving with her mother to Hong Kong at the age of 15, living with her mother 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. By 19, she had saved enough for airfare to London and supporting herself for English study at a secretarial school in Oxford. To support herself in the UK, she "worked in a traditional British fish and chip shop run by a Chinese couple", and took on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a role model, while also developing a "fascination with left-wing British intellectuals".
In 1987, while still studying in London, she earned a scholarship that enabled her to begin studying economics at the University of Sussex, where she received a bachelor's degree. In 1992, she graduated with a master's degree in development economics from Cambridge University, where she wrote her master's thesis on privatization in China. In 2013, Zhang received an honorary doctorate from her first alma mater, the University of Sussex.
Upon graduation, Zhang was hired by Barings PLC (later Barings Bank), which had scouted Cambridge for students with knowledge of privatization in China, and which hired Zhang on the strength of her master's thesis on the topic. She returned to Hong Kong to work, but in 1993 her unit at Barings was acquired by Goldman Sachs, and Zhang was transferred to New York City, where she helped bring privatized Chinese factories to the public stock exchange. Intrigued by China's burgeoning urbanization, she returned to her hometown, Beijing, where she met and married her husband—who purportedly proposed just four days after they met, in 1994. She co-founded Hongshi (meaning Red Stone), which became SOHO China, with her husband Pan Shiyi in 1995.
In 1994, the couple began a mixed-use development project on unwanted land, called "New Town". Over the next decade, they began six additional development projects in China, including a residential development in Boao, on the island of Hainan, and the Commune by the Great Wall, a managed boutique hotel in Beijing featuring the works of twelve Asian architects recruited by Zhang. Early in their marriage and business relationship, the couple experienced friction due to differing ideas of how the business should be run, leading Zhang to return to England for a time to reflect. Eventually, she decided to return to her husband, but left the business for a time, returning to focus on the design end when business increased.
Zhang has received international awards for her role as an architectural patron in China and as an entrepreneur. In 2002, she was awarded a special prize at the 8th la Biennale di Venezia for Commune by the Great Wall, a private collection of architecture, now a hotel.
Zhang is a member and young global leader of World Economic Forum, Davos, 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 a Blue Cloud Award in 2010. In 2014, Zhang was listed as the 62nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. and is "regularly named one of the top businesswomen in the world". Zhang and her husband have also been ranked by Forbes among the "world's most powerful couples". Zhang has been named a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, and of the Asia Society.
Zhang Xin and her husband, Pan Shiyi have two sons, and are members of the Baháʼí Faith. Zhang also made a cameo appearance as a representative of a Chinese investor in the 2010 film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
Within 10 years after Zhang and Shiyi starting their company, it was the largest property developer in the country, with Zhang coming to be called "the woman who built Beijing". By 2008, the couple was described by The Times as "China's most visible and flamboyant property tycoons". In 2011, Zhang began to transition from merely developing and selling properties to buying and leasing space, and branched out of China by acquiring a $600 million stake in New York City's Park Avenue Plaza, followed by participation in a group acquiring a 40 percent stake in the General Motors Building in midtown Manhattan in 2014, for a reported $1.4 billion. By that time, Zhang, through SOHO China, was involved in 18 developments in Beijing and 11 in Shanghai. During this time, In the mid-2010s, SOHO China began a transition from a business model of building and selling properties to one of buying and leasing them, with Zhang participating in the February 2015 launch of the SOHO 3Q shared office space sector, leasing shared space to companies in cities in China.
In 2014, Zhang and her husband launched a $100 million charitable initiative, the SOHO China Scholarships, "to fund disadvantaged Chinese students at top institutions across the globe", including gifts of over $10 million to Yale University and over $15 million to Harvard University; the gifts engendered some controversy among critics who felt that the money could have been spent improving schools in China.
Currently, Zhang Xin is 56 years, 1 months and 27 days old. Zhang Xin will celebrate 57th birthday on a Wednesday 24th of August 2022.
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