Zhang Bangxin

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  • Post category:China

Name: Zhang Bangxin

Country: China

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences from Sichuan University

Type of business: Founder and Chairman of TAL Education

Main Achievements: Bangxin founded Tomorrow Advancing Life or TAL Education.

Something interesting about the person: He expanded his business by acquiring several new teaching locations.

Biography:

Better known through his western name of Tom Zhang, Zhang Bangxin is a hugely successful businessman from China. He is often considered as a self-made billionaire and is currently the chairman of TAL Education, which he created himself. He was born in 1981 and received his Bachelor’s degree from Sichuan University in life sciences in the year 2001. He continued his education through postgraduate studies in Life Science School of Peking University from 2002 to 2007. He later got his Master of Business Administration degree from China Europe International Business School in 2009.

Bangxin founded Tomorrow Advancing Life or TAL Education. The original name of the company was Xueersi. He created it in 2002 when he was working as a tutor, among other part-time jobs, to help pay for his Ph.D. studies. Seeing how well he was doing and though the words of his clients, who were getting perfect scores, he soon had more than 20 clients at the same time. Zhang was always concerned that his parents were spending their hard-earned money on him, and he thought that he needed to prove to his parents that their hard work was not in vain. He used this commitment to building something profitable and sustainable out of his newfound passion for tutoring. Initially, he asked the parents to sit in the class if they wanted to as he needed to earn the satisfaction of them and, consequently, the confidence of new potential clients. His brand was based on quality and, thus, he divided his students into two classes. It was an extra workload for him, but it was necessary to do a better job. 

He joined hands with a classmate and soon registered his new business as a tutoring agency. He expanded his business by acquiring several new teaching locations. Concerned that the level of quality might vary, he shut down two of these to make his level of service consistent. The business was growing at an alarming rate, and both business partners lacked the connections the business required to work effortlessly. They came up with an interesting solution to their problems. They hired fresh graduates out of local colleges and universities. Even though they had little to none experience, they learned fast and were cheap enough for the company to survive the lack of resources.

TAL Education (Xueersi) and its founder are different from their competition and other entrepreneurs because of Zhang’s beliefs. He said that you bring together the best in people that perfectly match your values and screen out people that do not. He also added that your values are your business model. This is why TAL Education is considered more of a Growth Management company rather than just a tutoring company or agency.

The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010 and became Tomorrow Advancing Life (TAL) Education in August of 2013. TAL then made some changes in its business model and target to “advancing education through technology and the internet.” The company made other strategic changes in itself within the next five years, where it shifted its spotlight from after-school tuition to school itself. In 2018, Zhang made a deal with the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission to construct an “IT-enabled education 2.0”. Bangxin reinvented his company as an “educational technology company that complements the focus on intelligent education and open platforms with quality education and extracurricular tutorials and supports public and private education globally in the search for new educational models.”

In an interview, Zhang once remarked that doing the right thing will pay off in the long run. This has certainly been true in the case of TAL. Due to his immense success, Zhang has been a part of several Forbes lists that show his and his company’s potential. He is ranked at #157 in the Billionaires list of 2020 and at #33 of the China Rich list of 2019. The 39-year-old is currently worth US$9.1 billion. 

Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Bangxin
https://www.forbes.com/profile/zhang-bangxin/#3bcb2845224f
https://www.ceibs.edu/alumni-magazine/zhang-bangxin-visionary-field-education
https://www.forbesindia.com/article/checkin/a-former-graduate-school-tutors-billiondollar-fortune/43341/1