Born in Jiangsu province in 1972, Zhang Zhirong moved to Shanghai when he was three years-old. He started his own business at the age of 19, having saved Rmb30,000 from earlier jobs.
At the age of 22 – when Shanghai’s real estate market was at a low ebb – he managed to raise enough funds to set up a construction company and develop 600,000 square metres of housing. This and subsequent successes for his firm – Glorious Property – saw him become famed as the youngest property developer in Shanghai. His flagship project is the Shanghai Bay residential complex – which began construction in 2006 and on completion will total 16 luxury buildings overlooking the World Expo area.
Need to know
Glorious Property is now a nationwide property developer with a landbank of 13.6 million square metres split 40:60 between tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Its acquisition of low cost land was a key selling point for investors when its IPO was marketed last year. Zhang’s firm raised $1.28 billion in a Hong Kong listing in October.
Zhang cooperated with Jiaotong University to produce new feed additives and herbicides. He also co-invested with the Ministry of Science and Technology to build a state-of-the-art milk processing plant in Shanghai. However, his biggest side business is shipping. He owns Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries, one of Shanghai’s largest private shipyards. He also plans to list this business in Hong Kong.
In his own words
He is very low key, and rarely gives interviews. But he has offered this insight: “During high tide, it is hard to discover the gifts of the sea. At low tide, even a leisure walker on the beach can easily find beautiful shells. That is the logic of business opportunity.”
He is ranked number 51 on the Hurun rich list with a fortune of Rmb14 billion.
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