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What saved their personal fortunes was the 2007 decision to list Soho on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange instead of China, four people familiar with the matter said. The listing was handled by Goldman Sachs, who worked in London after Mr. Zhang earned a master’s degree in development economics from Cambridge University.

Unlike mainland China, where residents are given a strict annual foreign capital quota, money can move freely from Hong Kong and be used to purchase assets abroad. Most of the payments made by SoHo funded U.S. real estate deals, the people said. Most of the spending took place between 2015 and 2017, including special dividends and return on capital.

Zhang and Pan’s family office’s assets, staff and reporting requirements are all located in the United States, according to people familiar with the company. Seven Valleys also manages his equity portfolios in equities, fixed income, venture he capital and private, said a person familiar with the matter.

Home to Apple’s Manhattan flagship store, the GM building is worth about US$3.2 billion and was named one of the most valuable office towers in the United States, according to documents filed this year by majority owner Boston Properties. It is The Soho founder owns a 20% stake in the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

In 2011, the couple purchased 49% of Park Avenue Plaza, a 1.2 million-square-foot building that houses companies such as Morgan Stanley, real estate records show.

philanthropic focus

The couple’s philanthropic endeavors in the United States got off to a rocky start. They poured cash into sponsoring scholarships for Chinese students at Harvard and Yale starting in 2014, and criticized them on Chinese social media for not donating to the country where their fortunes were built. (My sons went to study at those schools).

But now, many of their donations are less controversial, such as education programs in Mr. Pang’s hometown in the northwestern province of Gansu. In September, Mr. Ban and Mr. Zhang stepped down as chairman and CEO of Soho, saying they wanted to focus on such philanthropy.

Harvard Business School professor Jeffrey Jones, who co-authored a case study on the couple’s philanthropy, said their exit was “very elegant.”

“It is in line with Xi’s insistence that businesses must do good and contribute to common prosperity, even if they actually have a lot of wealth. We are unlikely to face retaliation like that,” he New York becomes haven for Chinese billionaire families from property crash

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