Zhou Xiaochuan was born on January 29,1948, in Dongan, Heilongjiang Province. He graduated from Beijing Chemical Engineering Institute in 1975 and received a PhD degree in economic systems engineering from Qinghua University in 1985.
In 1986, he became a member of the Economic Policy Group of the State Council and Deputy Director of the Institute of Chinese Economic Reform Research. He served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade from 1986 to 1989 and, between 1986 and 1991, was also a member of the National Committee of Economic Reform.
In 1998-2000, he served as president of China Construction Bank and oversaw the creation of asset-management companies charged with working out the banking system's bad debt. He also played a part in managing China's foreign exchange reserves.
From 2000 to 2002, Zhou was head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. In December 2002, he was appointed to his present position as governor of the People's Bank of China.
Zhou has published a dozen monographs and over one hundred academic articles in Chinese and international journals. His articles "Rebuilding the relationship between the enterprise and the bank", "Social security: reform and policy recommendations" and book Marching toward an open economic system have all won awards in China.