Wu Bangguo has some tough tasks as a vice-premier, including the reform of state industries and overseeing the controversial Three Gorges dam project.
Mr Wu is a protege of former President Jiang Zemin, who he worked for when Mr Jiang was Shanghai Party secretary in the late 1980s.
He is known for his common touch and cautious approach to reform.
Mr Wu was born Anhui province in 1941, joining the party in 1964. He graduated from the prestigious Qinghua University in 1967 with a degree in electronics and started work in an electron tube factory in Shanghai.
But his path changed direction when Communist Party talent-spotters earmarked him for higher office.
In 1983 he was appointed Party secretary of Shanghai's science and technology commission and became a member of the Shanghai Party's standing committee.
He became a deputy Party secretary in 1985 and in 1991 took over as Party secretary, succeeding Jiang Zemin.
Mr Wu entered the Politburo in 1992. He moved to Beijing in 1994 as a member of the Party Secretariat, and was given a vice-premier position the following year.
He joined the Politburo Standing Committee in 2002.