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Zhang Mei

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She’s a woman who loves to walk on the wild side.

That love for the unusual, the off-the-beaten-track, the one-off led, marks her life, and is best exemplified in the firm she founded and now runs, the incredibly successful WildChina.

A native of Yunnan in southwest China, Mei holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. It was while working for McKinsey that she served as a consultant to The Nature Conservancy – and witnessed firsthand the seeming conflict  between economic development and conservation of both nature and culture in Yunnan – except unlike many others, she  strongly believed  there was a for-profit solution to the challenge, by offering a sophisticated interpretation of Chinese culture and nature through experiential travel.

This revolutionary concept led to the creation of WildChina in 2000 – a company that in just over a decade has become one of the most awarded in its space including a ringing endorsement from National Geographic Adventure who titled it the ‘Best Adventure Travel Company on Earth’.

Other honours include National Geographic Traveler listing WildChina in ‘Tours of a Lifetime’ while Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler ranked them top travel specialists in the business.

The WildChina story has been covered by Harvard Business Review, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME and more. The company sets the gold standard in luxury adventure travel in China, and its rigorous operation process is documented as a Harvard Business School case that is studied by all first-year Harvard MBAs. WildChina has also established partnerships with villages, nature reserves and NGOs around China.

Mei is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism and entrepreneurship, served as a judge for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s awards and is on the advisory boards of key industry forums, apart from being a founding board member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) primarily funded by the UN Foundation.

In 2012, after spending four years in Washington D.C., establishing WildChina’s presence in the U.S., Mei took another leap of faith, returning to China to build another venture: www.beshan.com. She strongly believes it is time to introduce the high-end sustainable travel lifestyle to the forever curious Chinese traveler.

And all the while she maintains a social media identity true to her origin: Yunnangirl.

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