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Hard Work and Dedication Can Mold Us into Anything We Want to Be: The Case of Zhang Xin

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Zhang Xin is a self-made female Chinese billionaire who ranks number 5 on the list of the world’s richest self-made billionaires. She grew up with her parents who were poor but worked hard specifically in the fields during the Mao revolution. As a result of this she was exposed to not only hard work and dedication, but also hardship. In addition to the article in the text, I also came across an article published by CNBC in 2017, which featured Zhan Xin as the woman who built Beijing. According to this article, Xin expressed that when she grew up in China in the 1960’s everything was gray. She lamented that the gray buildings were all built on gray bricks and everyone wore gray jackets. She however, in her work of being an architect and property developer, brought some color and life to China by changing that paradigm. Today, China is known for its skyscrapers, lights and color which some of the credit goes to Zhang and her husband’s real estate company SOHO.

Zhang’s personal characteristics set her apart from others in the business. Like those of hard work and dedication. These are two personal character traits that she has, which she acquired from watching her parents’ work ethic and her herself having to work as a young woman. This experience exposed her to the concept of hard work which she has applied in her own adult life and work. As a young woman she moved to Hong Kong with her mom where they led a poor and hardworking life. Zhang worked in a factory. She credits her hardworking and humble beginning for shaping her personality traits of humility and thriftiness. According to the article, “Zhang Xin: The Humble Chinese Billionaire”, even though she can afford to, she chooses not to fly first class when she travels because it rests on her conscious when she remembers how hard her parents had to work to acquire what they had. And these values she’s also tried to pass on to her 14-year-old son. As a leader, she is also driven to make a difference especially in Beijing, also adds to her list of personal characteristics which set her apart from her other business counterpart.

Culture plays a major role in who Zhang is. First of all, she was born and raised in China where being an entrepreneur is as regularly expected as working a 9-5 job in other parts of the world. Therefore, it wasn’t difficult for her to foresee that as a possibility. She saw China as a place where there is no limit to becoming an entrepreneur because it was enrooted in the culture of the people. Hence China having close to half of the world’s self-made female billionaires are from China. Secondly, the culture of her family, in which I believe had a greater impact on molding her into the humble successful business woman she is today. Zhang grew up in a family where hard work and dedication were their way of life: their culture. This kind of work ethic I believe is what majorly molder her into becoming the kind of person she is today. She was so influenced by that culture so much so that she herself worked in factories while she lived with her mother in Hong Kong and saved her money to get an education, which helped to propel her career. She studied at Cambridge University.

If I am to draw parallels between culture and Zhang Xin’s leadership as a successful business woman, and the emergence of it, I would say that it was very much influenced by national and group culture. In the beginning of this paper, I mentioned that Zhang was born and raised in china where becoming an entrepreneur was not a strange thing, it was part of the people’s culture, it was their way of life. Being born into this kind of entrepreneurial environment shaped the way she saw the world and think. She was also influenced by what is called group culture, which is another level of culture. In her case, her group was her immediate family: her parents. Who were tremendously hard working and driven. This culture of hard work and dedication which they constantly exemplified around Zhang not only taught her that through hard work one can accomplish anything, but it also encouraged her to become passionate in what she believed in and worked her for in order to achieve it.


  1. Nahavandi, A. (n.d.). The Art and Science of Leadership (7th ed.). Pearson.
  2. Handley, L. (2019, April 11). Zhang Xin: The woman who built Beijing. Retrieved from

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Hard Work And Dedication Can Mold Us Into Anything We Want To Be: The Case Of Zhang Xin. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from
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