Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, two Chinese entrepreneurs, started a real estate development company called SOHO China that has used new, unique, and innovative concepts in order to become one of the largest in its market based on revenue. Pan began working as a staff worker in the Ministry of Petroleum when he decided to leave this comfortable government job for the newly developing private sector assuming great personal risk for the possibility of greater rewards. He started a real estate shareholding company named Vantone Group and oversaw development of a commercial property in Hong Kong where he gained experience and a positive reputation within the real estate industry. Zhang grew up in turbulent times working at a sweat shop at 15. She earned enough money to graduate from high school and left China for England. Over time she received a Masters in Economics from Cambridge and worked in the investment banking industry with Goldman Sachs and Travelers before meeting Pan and returning to China. Pan and Zhang were married and both quit their jobs to start a real estate development company called Redstone Industrie in 1995.
Both Pan and Zhang believed in the freedom of open markets and believed that there was a huge opportunity for real estate development in China due to the repressive past of the housing market in the country. From the 1950’s until housing reform started in the early 1990’s most housing was distributed to people through government welfare programs. Housing was usually owned by the state and distributed by employers as part of their employment. The housing was either free or a nominal rent but individuals had no ownership rights and their ability to have a house was based on their employment status. The quality of housing was also dismal. Insulation was poor, heating systems were outdated, hot water was rarely available, and families had to share 500 square feet of living space. In the 1990’s, the government began...
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November 3rd, 2011 from: http://www.globalasia.org/print.php?c=e287
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