Pan Shiyi (Chinese: 潘石屹; pinyin: Pān Shíyì; born November 14, 1963) is a Chinese business magnate. Presently, he is the Chairman of SOHO China, the largest prime office real estate developer in China acclaimed for developing iconic landmark buildings in Beijing and Shanghai. He co-founded SOHO China with his wife Zhang Xin in 1995. The couple has been described by The Times of London as “China’s most visible and flamboyant property tycoons”. Together with his wife Zhangxin, he currently ranks as 32nd richest person in China, and 460th richest person in the world, according to the Hurun Report Global Rich List 2014.
Mr. Pan was honored as one of the “Top Ten Influential Figures in Real Estate Industry” by sina.com in 2004 and 2006, and one of the “Top Ten Influential Figures in Real Estate Industry” by sohu.com in 2005. In 2008, Mr. Pan was named China Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in the Real Estate category. He was selected as “2009 Real Estate Person of the Year” by sina.com.
In China, Pan Shiyi’s entrepreneurial accomplishments have led him to become widely regarded as a modern-day rags to riches success story. Pan Shiyi was born in an impoverished rural village in Tianshui in Gansu Province in western China in 1963. He graduated from the Hebei Technical College of Petroleum Profession in 1982, later working at the former Ministry of Petroleum, until he decided in 1987 to venture to Shenzhen and Hainan to embark upon a career in real estate. In 1992, he co-founded Beijing Vantone Co., Ltd., a developer now listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Pan Shiyi is seen as part of a vanguard in China spearheading a new generation of private entrepreneurship. The projects he has undertaken as Chairman of SOHO China have achieved tremendous commercial success, largely thanks to his flair for marketing and foresight in anticipating the needs of Chinese investors and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, his distinct way of approaching life and work with optimism, levity, and candor has made him a public role model and a star in the eyes of the media.
Pan Shiyi was also one of the first proponents of the digital revolution and social media in China. He has been successful in promoting the SOHO brand through his personal blog and his “weibo” account. At present his “weibo”, the Chinese version of “Twitter”, has over 17 million followers. Pan regularly uses video broadcasts and online chat and has been a keynote speaker at events such as the World Economic Forum, the Asia Leadership Forum, and the Boao Forum for Asia, to create lively forums for public discourse on the progress of China’s economic development, industry trends and broader social issues.
In Chinese internet slang, “Pan Shiyi” (also written as “Pan”) has come to be used as the name of a unit used to describe real estate prices. 1 Pan Shiyi is equal to 1000 RMB per square metre.
Pan Shiyi is deeply involved in philanthropy through the charitable organization he co-founded with Zhang Xin, SOHO China Foundation, the mission of which is to advance 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.