Fengbo Zhang is a leading Chinese economist. He has been advising the highest level of Chinese leadership in policy-making since the 1980s, and continued success in USA financial industry.
During the Cultural Revolution in China, upon graduation from High School, he was forced to work in an impoverished village as a farmer. He studied at night after long days of physical labor. After graduating from Shanghai International Studies University, he passed the extremely competitive examination and received the honor of becoming the youngest researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1980.
He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Kyoto University in Japan, as the first PRC citizen to receive a Ph.D. in economics from overseas. In 1986, he was a Senior Research Fellow as well as the Founder and Head of the Chinese Macroeconomic Research Group at the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Research Center. “Dr. Zhang was assigned to the State Council Research Center which provided the theoretical basis for the Chinese Premier to make policies”.(China Daily, July 20,1987). He helped the Deng Xiaoping leadership in promoting reform and open policy. He introduced Western economics to China, replaced Marx’s “Das Kapital”. He headed major national economic research projects, including the Chinese Macroeconomic Research – the key research project of the seventh Five-Year Plan of China, led by Dr. Zhang, participated by hundreds of scholars from the Central Government Ministries, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and leading Universities of China. He provided methods and theory for Chinese leadership promoting economic reform and decision-making, educated new government and business leaders. He promoted Western National Accounts System to China, replaced Soviet Union’s system; completed and published the first China GDP.
In 1988, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States. In 1989, he was the Chief Economist of Takenaka Corporation USA, and Secretary and Treasurer of the Nippon Club Tower – the largest Japanese overseas center, representing leading Japanese companies during the rapid investment boom in the USA, including investments to Rockefeller Center, Hollywood / Columbia Pictures. In 1994, he was Chief Economist and Senior Manager of ORIX Asian Headquarters, in charge of investment banking business to China. In 1996, he joined Fuji Bank NY Headquarters, as the Chief Financial Analyst and Senior Manager in charge of corporate finance to world leading Companies, including Toyota, Sony, Nomura Securities, Mitsui, Mitsubishi – all top companies in each industry. He also weathered the 1997 Asian financial crisis and directly handled Yamaichi Securities, Crown Leasing and Japan Leasing – the 3 biggest companies in the world that declared bankruptcy. He also experienced 9/11. In 2003, he joined Citigroup as a Senior Vice President for Citibank Lending, with continued success, and was awarded the CitiStar – Citibank NA’s highest honor, during the Financial Crisis in 2008 and 2009.
He is regularly invited to speaks to Chinese government and business leaders and Global Forums.
Fengbo Zhang’s achievement comprehensively covered China’s Macroeconomy. He published more than 10 books and hundreds of reports and research papers; however, the GDP-related contents comprise only 9 pages (Chapter 2, Section 1 in the book “Chinese Macroeconomic Structure and Policy”). At early stage of China’s reform, as the forerunner of Chinese Economists, he removed himself from the traditional Chinese political economics, but he also did not attach himself solely to Western economic theory. Instead, he incorporated the essence of both theories and focused his research on the newest achievements of economic structure and policies of various countries. Basing it on comprehensive research of Chinese economic structure, operation law, and policy, he created a completely new Chinese macroeconomic analysis theory and method, unique for its usage of personal computing technology, forming a significant feature of Chinese Economics, especially economic policy research.
§ Analysis of Chinese Macroeconomy This book was published by People Press, the top publisher in China and the First Place Prize winner of the Chinese National Book Award in 1987, and also was published in English and Japanese.
§ PC and Economic Analysis, Economic Daily, China, 1986 OCLC 44814225 In this book, he introduced Econometrics for Chinese Macroeconomic analysis, including Mathematics methods, computer programming technical and extensive Chinese economic data and cases.
§ Chinese Economic Operation and Control Editor: Fengbo Zhang. A collaborative effort of hundreds, with 36 authors from the Central Government Ministries, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and leading Universities of China. It’s a project of National Natural Science Foundation of China headed by Dr. Zhang.
Fengbo Zhang’s numerous statements have significantly influenced China’s top policy-making since the 1980s, including the following famous adages:
§ “Do not focus on the political left or the political right – focus on the economy.”
§ “In the race for economic development, time should not be wasted on debating Socialism or Capitalism.”
§ “Economic research requires a huge investment in manpower and financial resources. Thus, the standard for evaluating achievement in economic research should be the production of significant social benefits and the desired economic effect.”
Opinion on Financial Crisis