From 1969 to 1976, he was sent as an ‘educated youth’ to do hard labor in Beidahuang, Northeast China. His life changed in 1978, when he passed the nationwide standardized university entrance examination and enrolled at the Tangshan Mechanical Engineering University. After receiving his bachelor degree four years later, he then studied at the Beijing Technology University where he earned a masters degree. In 1988 he obtained his PhD in automation sciences from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In 1991 Hu conducted post-doctoral study in the Department of Economics at Yale, in 1991 he was a research fellow at the Center for International Study at MIT, and in 1998 he held another research fellowship in the Department of Economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition, he became a visiting professor at the College of Public Administration in Keio University of Japan in 2000, at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2001, and at the College of Social Sciences and Arts of France in 2003.
Since 1985, Hu Angang has been involved with the Center for China Study of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which aims to become a firsttier think-tank devoted to macroeconomic policymaking and strategy for China. As a pioneer in the development of modern Chinese economic theories, Hu has become a leading scholar in Chinese macroeconomic studies, and in early 2000 he was appointed director of the center. Since then the reports published by the center have become important reading for provincial and ministry-level leaders in China.
Focusing on China’s macroeconomic development, Dr Hu has been an expert researcher and a productive writer; by 2003, he had published 43 academic books, of which eight were published overseas and six were in English. In addition, Hu has published nearly 200 articles in the core academic journals in China, and was quoted more than 1400 times between 2000 and 2005 according to the Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index (CSSCI).
Hu is known in China for his strong support of socialism and the Chinese Communist Party. In July 2013 he wrote a controversial op-ed for the People's Daily stating: "Compared with the civil society in the West, the people's society is superior... it is a great made-in-China innovation in theory and practice." He went on to say that "the people's society is a socialist society under the leadership of the Communist Party." This drew strong criticism within China from social media sites and Chinese academics such as Yu Jianrong.
After many years of research and diligent work, Hu Angang has established himself as a leading scholar on China’s economic development. His research has attracted the attention and recognition of the Chinese Communist Party, and Hu has been invited by the State Council to share his views on national long- term development plans. As his work is considered by top leaders in their decision-making, Hu is likely to have a significant impact on Chinese social and economic development in the coming years.