After trying hands at a number of jobs, Zhang Shiping ended up establishing a cotton textile business, which today involves most of his family members. Starting from cotton, he entered the aluminum, investment and electricity production businesses, and is planning to build an alumina smelter in Indonesia too. Shiping is the Chairman of Hongqiao Group, largest aluminum player in China.
Born in 1946, Shiping joined the Anhui College of Finance and Trading, and received a professional degree in cotton testing. He started by trying hands in a variety of jobs, including working as a fire-fighter. In 1981, he was made the manager of Weiqiao Cotton, a cotton processing company. In 1986, he founded a towel manufacturing factory, which gave him a capital of 6 million. He borrowed 4 million more, and invested it to install spindles in his Weiqiao Cotton.