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Rouse in Profile: Fisher Zhang

Published on 01 Dec 2023 | 4 minute read
A lesson in parenting

Fisher is a Senior Trade Mark Attorney in our Guangzhou office.  He has extensive Intellectual Property experience in China, and now provides the full range of trade mark prosecution services to both multinational and local Chinese companies.

Anyone who has had anything to do with children in the last 20 years or so will be well aware of the increasingly intensive nature of parenting. A typical over-protective ‘helicopter parent’ is ever present in their child’s life - ensuring he gets to school on time; helping with his homework, sometimes even doing it for him; helping decide which subjects and courses he should take; and determining and monitoring, as far as possible, his social activities.  Chinese parents are often said to be overly intrusive, putting enormous pressure on their children not just to do well, but to excel in just about everything.  In a recent survey carried out in Beijing, over 97% of the parents interviewed agreed that over-parenting is common.   Fisher’s parents, however, were different.  They gave him a lot of scope and freedom, and as a result he developed an unusual degree of independence and self-reliance at a very early age.  He is very aware of, and enormously grateful for, their approach and the influence it has had on his life.  

Fisher grew up in a small town near the city of Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province.  His father, a tailor, had opened a tailoring school to teach his skills to others; his mother was a farmer, growing most of the family’s food – rice, wheat, vegetables and fruits.  They were both obviously busy, but - particularly when they saw their son doing well at school, always among the top ten in his class - they could easily have put pressure on him to succeed at the highest level.  But they didn’t.  They taught him to work hard and be responsible and respectful, but they didn’t pay a lot of attention to his studies.  They left it to him to decide how much, what, and when to study.   He knew they trusted him and he didn’t want to let them down. 

When he was in middle school, aged about 14, he started to learn English – these days students in China start when they are about six or seven, even earlier, but then it was different.  Fisher found he had an aptitude for languages and loved studying both English and French.  When the time came to go to University he decided to major in English at the China `University of Political Science and Law, one of the top public universities in Beijing.  He was just 18 at the time and travelling by himself to Beijing, 2,000 km away, was a big thing.  Most parents would accompany their children to University, but Fisher didn’t think it was necessary and his parents trusted him.  For the next few years, he lived in one of the colleges at the University and was only able to go home for summer and winter vacations. 

In his third year he applied successfully to go on an exchange to Xiamen University in Fujian Province.  Places were offered to only two or three students and he was fortunate to be one of them.  He had been keen to have the experience of studying at another university and it turned out to be life changing.  Before that he was, probably not surprisingly, a rather shy, introverted and typically ‘serious’ student, but at Xiamen University it was different: he found that the classes were exciting and there was opportunity to expand and grow.  He made a lot of friends and became involved in a wide range of university activities.  The experience changed him profoundly.

His intention when he graduated was to make use of his language skills and become a journalist.  After two rounds of paper examinations and interviews he was offered an internship with a national newsagency (which usually means there will be a guaranteed job at the end).  Unfortunately for him – or perhaps fortunately as it has turned out – there was a change in management at the newsagency and none of the interns was offered a permanent position.  He now says that perhaps it was Fate that, instead, he found a position as a translator with an IP Agency.  There, it wasn’t long before he developed an interest in, and started doing, prosecution work  - at that time it wasn’t necessary to have a specific qualification.  He subsequently went on to study for and obtain the Trade Mark Agent qualification. 

In 2011, he joined Rouse’s Beijing office, but in late 2012 moved to Chongqing municipal city for family reasons.  He was happy to be able to rejoin Rouse in October 2014 and seconded to Shanghai office for around 6 months (then back to the Beijing office),. He relocated to Rouse’s Guangzhou office in 2019. He is probably the only person who has worked for three Rouse offices in China – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Each city has a different culture and history and he has very precious memories of the time he has spent in each one.

Fisher had met Wen Ding, his wife, when she too was a student in Beijing, studying dentistry.  She had been at the same high school as Fisher and was part of a group of old school friends who were studying in Beijing. They were married in 2013 and their daughter Miya, now 7.5 years old, was born in 2016. Wen Ding now spends much of her time looking after Miya, but, in addition, she has been pursuing another passion:  photography.  Much more interesting than dentistry!

Not many people from Fisher’s small hometown go on to study at one of the country’s top universities, and then have a successful professional career in the city.  Fisher’s parents are no doubt very proud of his achievements – although one can be sure they would be quiet and dignified in their pride.  Hopefully, they are also aware of the important role that they, and their method of parenting, have played in Fisher’s success.   

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Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100
Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100