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Biography, Education, Reality, Social

MEET CHINA’S FEMALE MOGUL/MAGNATE,RICHER THAN WHO,WHO N WHO?


SOHO

SOHO

Zhang Xin

Zhang Xin

Zhang Xin grew up in poverty
and at the age of 14 began a laboring job in a
factory. Today, she is richer than Donald Trump,
Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Zhang, a Chinese real estate developer, is the
seventh richest self-made women in the world,
worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes. She’s
worth $800 million more than Oprah Winfrey,
the world’s best known self-made female
billionaire.
Not only does Zhang’s rags-to-riches story mirror
that of China itself, but it is Zhang who has
shaped much of the country’s modern urban
landscape, with the logo of her company SOHO
China, on the side of buildings wherever you turn
in Beijing.
SOHO China has 18 developments in Beijing,
many of them landmark buildings, and has
recently expanded to Shanghai, where it has
bought or built 11 properties.
Two of her Beijing projects — one
completed last year and another under
construction — are designed by the
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha
Hadid .
Zhang, 47, was born in Beijing just
before Mao Zedong’s Cultural
Revolution, when educated people like
her parents were sent to the fields for
“re-education”. She returned to Beijing
with her mother, but they endured
poverty and hardship.
“I was born and grew up when the city
was very quiet: no cars, no shops, no
lights, no machines. People were just
on bicycles,” she said.

At 14, she and her mother moved to
Hong Kong, where she spent five years
in low-paid factory jobs,
manufacturing toys, clothes and
electronics, trying to save enough to
go to England for an education.
“As a new immigrant to Hong Kong
with no education, no background,
didn’t even speak the local language or
dialect, Cantonese, and it was just a
hard way to live in Hong Kong,” said
Zhang.
It took Zhang five years to save
enough for a plane ticket to London
and an English language course. She
won a scholarship to university,
studied for a Master’s degree in
economics at Cambridge University
and landed her first job for Goldman
Sachs in New York.
Instead of remaining in her
comfortable life in Wall Street, Zhang
returned to Beijing, where she met
her husband, and together they
started SOHO China.
“There was excitement of people
talking about how to change China,
and it was a very intellectually vibrant time,” she
said. “I felt that this country was really making a
transition and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Since Zhang and her husband Pan Shiyi formed
SOHO China in 1995, it has become China’s largest
commercial real estate developer, owning 56
million square feet in prime developments in
Beijing and Shanghai.
While Zhang’s story is incredible — giving her
celebrity status in China — it is not unique. Of
Forbes’ 2013 list of 24 self-made female
billionaires, six are from China (including one
from Hong Kong), more than any other country
outside the United States.
“I think women of our generation went through
Cultural Revolution, went through hardship,
coming from nowhere, and suddenly see China’s
amazing opportunity,” said Zhang. “So women
just seized the opportunity.”

Zhang has a following of more than 5
million on Weibo, the Chinese social
media site often compared with
Twitter, where she shares her views
on business, current affairs and
architecture.
But despite her financial success,
Zhang, who practices the Baha’i faith,
avoids excessive trappings of wealth,
even suggesting her 14-year-old son
find a job in McDonand’s or KFC. He tried, but
was too young to be accepted.
“It’s not easy to be my sons because we’re very
high profile. We try so hard to give them a
normal life,” she said.
“I’m very, very tight with them about money. I
don’t give that money until they ask, ‘I need 100
yuan for my lunch card,’ and so on. So they never
have extra money. But I think that still cannot
compare to how we came, where we came
(from).”

Piled from: cnn.com

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