CEO，Co-founder，SOHO China Ltd.
Xin(Shynn) ZHANG co-founded SOHO China in 1995. As CEO, she has led the company to become the largest developer of prime office real estate in Beijing and Shanghai. SOHO China has developed over 54 million square feet in projects in Beijing and Shanghai, and is acclaimed for developing iconic landmark buildings. Widely credited with revolutionizing Beijing’s architectural landscape, Xin(Shynn) ZHANG’s visionary achievements have distinguished her as a creative force for China.
Born in Beijing in 1965, Xin(Shynn) ZHANG moved to Hong Kong at the age of 14 where she labored as a factory girl for five years before making her way to England. There, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Sussex University and a Master’s degree in Development Economics from Cambridge University. After working in investment banking for Goldman Sachs and Travelers Group, she returned to Beijing to co-found SOHO China.
Featured repeatedly as an opinion leader on China's real estate market and economic development, Xin(Shynn) ZHANG’s triumphant entrepreneurship and personal story have led her to be recognized internationally as an emblem of the China's growth, and domestically as a celebrity figure with over 9 million followers on “weibo”, the Chinese version of “twitter”. As a “weibo” personality, she regularly shares her views on business, current affairs and architecture.
Xin(Shynn) ZHANG is deeply involved in philanthropy. In 2005 she and her husband Pan Shiyi established the SOHO China Foundation, a charity organization guided by the mission of advancing education as a means for alleviating poverty. In 2014, the SOHO China Foundation launched the SOHO China Scholarships, a USD 100 million initiative supporting financial aid for Chinese students at leading international universities.
Select Awards and Recognition
- 2017 February
Named among 2017 China's Most Outstanding Business Women by China's Forbes
- 2016 April
Listed among the World's Most Influential Working Mothers by "Working Mother" magazine.
- 2015 December
Joined the Breakthrough Energy Coalition at Bill Gates's invitation.
- 2014 December
Named “Philanthropy Faces of the Year" by China's “People” magazine.
- 2013 & 2014
Named among the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" by Fortune magazine;
Named among the "25 Powerful Chinese Women in Business" by Fortune magazine;
Received honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Sussex;
Honored among "48 Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy" by Forbes magazine;
Named "The World's Most Powerful Female Entrepreneurs" by Forbes magazine;
Named "Asia's Women In The Mix, 2013: The Year's Top 50 for Achievement In Business" by Forbes magazine;
present Teach for China, Chair of the Board;
- 2008, 2011 and 2012
Named among "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes magazine;
Recognized along with husband Pan Shiyi as one of the “World’s 15 Most Powerful Couples 2012” by Forbes;
Named among the “The International Power 50” of the “Most Powerful Women”, by Fortune magazine;
Honored with the Blue Cloud Award by the China Institute in America;
Named one of “China Top 10 Career Women Role Models in 2009” by the All-China;
- March, 2010
Women’s Federation, China Sun Media Group, Sina.com and Hunan TV;
- September 2009
November 2010 and November 2011 Selected as one of the “Top 50 Women in World Business” by Financial Times newspaper;
- March 2009
Included among “Ten Billionaire Women We Admire” by Forbes magazine;
Selected as one of “Ten Women to Watch in Asia” by the Wall Street Journal;
Selected by World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader;
Council on Foreign Relations, Global Board of Advisors, Member;
Harvard University, Global Advisory Council, Member;
Asia Business Council, Member;
China Institute in America, Trustee;
Received Business Week´s Stars of Asia Award;
Received Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award;
Named Asia´s Under-50 Movers and Shakers by Asia Inc, with Pan Shiyi;
- September 2002
Honored as an individual patron of architectural works at the 8th la Biennale di Venezia;
- 2002 & 2003
Elected "Young Leader" by National Committee of US-China Relations;
Voted among “Most Influential Figures in the Age of China´s Transition” by foremost China business newspaper Economic Observer;
“I have known Xin(Shynn) ZHANG for many years and share her vision to improve the built environment. She welcomes innovative and holds the highest respect for the integrity of an architect's work. The construction is a man's world, yet she has succeeded through her hard work and determination.”— Architect Zaha Hadid on Porter Magazine
“They [Xin(Shynn) ZHANG & Pan Shiyi] have both their vociferous critics and staunch fans, but whichever side of the fence you fall on, it is undeniable that their SOHO home-office model and their daring approach to architecture has made a major impact on Beijing´s luxury housing market and on lifestyles in the city.”— South China Morning Post
“[Pan Shiyi and Xin(Shynn) ZHANG’s] love story was a fairy tale that combined Pan’s grassroots as a native-born son of humble beginnings who became involved in developing modern housing projects…and Zhang’s smarts and worldliness, drawn from her years of overseas experiences.”— Forbes.com
“Xin(Shynn) ZHANG and her husband, Pan Shiyi…are among the country's most outspoken defenders of the urban habitat. It is Zhang's attempt, as she puts it, ‘to advocate urbanism to the market, to create a neighborhood rather than just a compound.”— Time Magazine
“The company has made a name for itself by breaking with the drab proletarian past and infusing China’s modern architecture scene with an audacious, offbeat energy. Zhang has been dubbed a “young urban visionary” and a “dynamic trendsetter”.”— Daily Telegraph Magazine
SOHO China Ltd.
Chairman · Co-Founder
Mr. Pan Shiyi made his first fortune from real estate in the 1980s and has embraced the industry ever since. His entrepreneurial acumen and flair for marketing have led to an unconventional business model that quickly propelled SOHO China, cofounded in 1995 with his wife Zhang Xin, to one of the largest prime office developers in China. The company’s work has transformed the skyline of Beijing and Shanghai, where SOHO China has a number of avant garde architectures built in collaboration with internationally acclaimed architects. In 2015, Mr. Pan launched co-working space project “SOHO 3Q.” Guided by his vision for the rise of the Internet economy, SOHO 3Q provides flexible offices and a variety of resources for innovative companies and young entrepreneurs.
Born to a humble family in rural Gansu Province, following his graduation from university, Mr. Pan worked at the former Ministry of Petroleum Industry, until he decided to start his own business to Shenzhen and Hainan, and later to embark upon a career in real estate in Beijing. To many people in China, Pan Shiyi’s life is a modern day rags to riches success story: A young man who grew up in an impoverished area of Western China, who was able to advance to the forefront of an entire industry by following his dreams, exhibiting strong business savvy and innovation spirit, and finally become a role model for young entrepreneurs.
Mr. Pan shiyi was also one of the first proponents of the digital revolution and social media in China. As early as the age of blogs, He has already become an opinion leader with celebrity status. At present Mr. Pan’s “weibo”, the Chinese version of “Twitter”, has over 18 million followers, his public influence extends beyond the sphere property development and urbanization. Mr. Pan is deeply committed to environmental causes. He has been instrumental to raising public awareness of PM 2.5 pollution in China through social media. He also spearheaded efforts to develop an energy conservation and air purification system for SOHO China projects. In 2015, Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang joined the Breakthrough Energy Coalition led by Bill Gates to fund development of clean energy technology.
Owing his success to China’s Reform and Opening, Mr. Pan seeks to give back to the society through philanthropy. In 2005, he and Ms. Zhang set up a charity organization, SOHO China Foundation, to support underprivileged families through various education initiatives. The Foundation launched SOHO China Scholarships in 2014, a $100 million fund offering financial aid for Chinese students at leading international universities. Gift agreements totaling $25 million have been signed with Harvard and Yale University. The Scholarships currently supports more than 30 Chinese students pursuing undergraduate degrees at the partner universities.
Mr. Pan is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and also joined the Special Olympics Senior Advisors Committee for the East Asia region in 2015.
Select Awards and Recognition
Joined the Harvard Kennedy School as a Senior Fellow.
Named among Yicai Magazine’s “Top 50 Most Innovative Chinese Business People”.
Joined the Special Olympics Senior Advisors Committee for the East Asia region.
Selected as “The Best-Spirited Figure In The Real Estate Industry” by NetEase.
Given “The Judging Committee’s Special Award” at the Fifth SEE-TNC Ecology Award.
Honored “The Most Socially Responsible Person in Real Estate” by Tencent.
Selected as "The Most Influential Person in the Real Estate Industry in 2011 in China” by Sina’s Leju.com
Selected as "2009 Real Estate Person of the Year" by Sina.com
Honored as "China Real Estate Top 10 Individual of All Time" at the 10th Annual China International Real Estate & Arch-tech Fair (CIHAF) Awards
Honored as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year China 2008 as winner of Real Estate category
Selected as deputy to Beijng’s People’s Congress
Honored as a "Model Income Tax Payer" by the Beijing Taxation Administration Bureau
- Since 2002
Boao Forum for Asia, speaker and moderator
Asia Business Council, member
- 2003 - 2006
Named one of the "Top Ten Influential Figures in the Real Estate Industry" in China by Sina.com
Named one of "25 Most Influential Business Leaders in China," FORTUNE (China)
- 2003 - 2004
World Economic Forum, speaker
Asia Leadership Forum, speaker
Named Asia ́s Under-50 Movers and Shakers by Asia Inc, along with Zhang Xin
- What I Took a Life to Find (2008)
- Childhood Candy is Sweet (2008, Published in Taiwan)
- Pan Shiyis Blog (2005)
- Chop Suey (2004)
- Go West 25o, Photo Album (2003)
- The Teacup Is Full, Collections of Essays (2001)
- Complain About Pan Shiyi, Criticize SOHO New Town (2001)
“Pan Shiyi is a star both inside and outside the world of real estate. A certain charm enables him to achieve success in all his endeavors, no matter the area, whether it be the SOHO concept, acting in movies, publishing, or TV hosting. The more active he is, the more in fashion he becomes. At the same time, his main avocation is crystal clear, a series of SOHO-branded buildings famous in Beijing, which have ranked at the top of Beijing’s best-selling list for years.”— Huaxia.com
“In the world of Chinese real estate, Pan Shiyi is undoubtedly another species. Again and again, he finds himself in a whirlpool of controversy, rarely playing the hand dealt to him in the ‘common-sensical’ manner… Every single one of Pan Shiyi’s architectural masterpieces has become a landmark, ushering in a new wave of architectural innovation into the city. Based on this unique understanding of business, he does not naively pursue scale and volume, rather focusing on the long-term value of architecture and stressing doing Chinese, contemporary architecture. Therefore all the projects he develops have been unprecedented commercial successes.”— People’s Daily
“Mr Pan is a sort of model worker for the new entrepreneur in China - a Lei Feng of the capitalist era, if you will.”— South China Morning Post
“Everyone talks about how China has such a rich history,´ says Pan. ´But I want to show that the buildings we construct today can have a future too.´ Already he has taken the novel step of noting the buildings near his site and adapting his blueprints to create a sense of coherence in the city center.”— Time Magazine