James H. Spear, Jr.

James H. Spear, Jr. (Chinese 萨洋, born 14 October 1955) is an American entrepreneur and designer based near Beijing, China since 1986. He is a recipient of the Great Wall Friendship Award.

萨洋(英语名 James H. Spear, Jr.,出生于1955年10月14日)是一位美籍企业家与设计师;自1986年起常驻中国北京。曾获得过长城友谊奖。

Early Life, Education, and Military Service

Jim Spear was born in Ridgecrest, California and attended more than 10 schools around the United States up to graduation from high school in Marshalltown, Iowa.


Spear attended Iowa State University before joining the United State Army, serving from 1976-1980. While in the military, he studied at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, earning a certificate in Mandarin Chinese as an honor graduate of his class in 1977. He also attended the 8th Army NCO Academy in 1978 and was the honor graduate and also chosen by his peers as the outstanding leader in the class.


After military service Spear continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley in the field of political science. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and took his B.A. degree in 1982. His M.A. was awarded in 1983. He continued as a Ph.D. student under Professor Chalmers Johnson. While at Berkeley Spear studied Chinese language at Peking University in 1981 and Beijing Normal University in 1983.

兵役期满后,萨洋继续深造,在加州大学伯克利分校攻读政治学。他曾被选为美国大学优秀生全国性荣誉组织会员,并于1982年获得文学学士学位。后于1983年获得硕士学位。然后作为Chalmers Johnson教授的博士生继续学习。在伯克利分校期间,萨洋先后于1981年在北京大学、1983年在北京师范大学学习汉语。

Business Career

In January 1986 he left his Ph.D. program in Chinese politics to move to China as a project manager for the pioneering China consulting and investment firm Unison International. With the guidance of the company’s founder CB Sung, Spear learned the ropes of doing business in China and became a vice president of Unison and chief representative in Beijing.


Spear left Unison in to start his own family business with his wife Liang Tang, selling imported scientific equipment and engineered systems in China. They invested in a software joint venture in Nanjing and set up one of the first wholly foreign-owned consulting businesses in Beijing, Pacific Solutions. This company became the base for establishing Asia Solutions Corporation (ASC) which operated as ASC Fine Wines, today the largest wine importer and distributor in China.


After leaving ASC, Spear seized the opportunity to join Chindex International, a NASDAQ firm headed by Roberta Lipson that started the first foreign-invested hospital in China, where he conceived and ran a division that distributed lower value medical devices, consumables, supplies, and consumer products to hospitals and pharmacies throughout China. The offerings ran the gamut from Guidant cardiac stents to L’Oreal’s Vichy brand cosmetics.

离开ASC后,萨洋抓住机会进入美中互利集团,该公司是由李碧箐领导的纳斯达克上市公司并且在中国创办了第一家外资医院;在该公司,萨洋构想成立了一个部门,负责在中国境内向医院和药房分销低价的医疗设备、消耗品、供应品以及消费品。产品经营范围从 Guidant 心脏支架到欧莱雅旗下薇姿品牌化妆品,应有尽有。

Design Achievements

In 2005 Spear & Tang moved out to their weekend retreat near Mutianyu Great Wall to live full-time. The first order of business was to turn their peasant hut into a year-round home with modern amenities.


Spear has by now designed and built about 30 homes for clients from around the world, all nestled in villages under the Great Wall. His work has been featured in Architectural Digest and many other Chinese and international publications. A monograph about Spear’s designs, Great Wall Style: Building Home with Jim Spear from Images Publishing, was published in late 2013.

迄今为止,萨洋已经为来自世界各地的客户完成了约三十所房屋设计和改造,全都位于长城脚下的村庄里。他的作品曾被刊登在Architectural Digest及许多中国与国际出版物上。2013年底,关于萨洋设计的专著《长城风格:与萨洋一起建造家园》发表在Images Publishing 上。

Sustainable Tourism Achievements

Shortly after they moved to the village, Spear relates that the mayor called him to the Village Hall to give him a lecture. “In case you hadn’t noticed we’re having a hard time, Li Lianting said. “We let you live in our community. Don’t you think you should give something back?” This was the impetus, says Spear, for him to start thinking about challenges facing rural communities in the context of rapid economic development and worldwide environmental degradation and climate change.


In the Spring of 2006, Spear & Tang leased the abandoned village schoolhouse and started what is today a thriving sustainable tourism business based on engaging the local community, using existing footprints, following environmentally sound operating principles, and serving homemade food prepared from scratch with local ingredients.


The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu Great Wall is a for-profit enterprise comprised of three restaurants, an art glass studio, a gallery, a unique resort with lodging in rental homes dispersed across three villages, and a 25 room eco-retreat created from a repurposed glazed tile factory, all designed by Spear.


Consulting Practice

Spear’s distinctive architecture and his and Liang’s experience building The Schoolhouse have led to led to a consulting and design practice serving government and private clients across China.



Spear says he believes in the Chinese saying, “If you drink the water, don’t forget the people who dug the well,” and one way he shows respect for all the people who have helped and encouraged him is paying forward with The Schoolhouse Sustainable Tourism Internships. He has personally mentored about 40 young people from 13 different countries and feels they have truly been his teachers as well.


Awards and Honors

The Schoolhouse won the HICAP Sustainable Communities Award in 2009 and was named the best tourism enterprise in Beijing’s scenic Huairou District in 2010. The Schoolhouse earned recognition for best responsible tourism practices in China in 2012 from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).


Spear’s contributions to China were recognized with the Great Wall Friendship Award in 2014 from the Beijing government.

2014 年,鉴于萨洋对中国的贡献,北京政府授予其长城友谊奖。

Spear & Tang were named China Countryside Tourism Persons of the Year in 2015 at the Hangzhou Forum.


In 2018 Jim earned recognition in the prestigious international Architizer A+ Design Award in the hotels & resorts category.

2018年萨洋赢得了Architizer 酒店及度假村国际设计奖。