Previously, he served as mayor of Huangshi, the head of the General Office of the Hubei provincial government, the vice governor of Hubei, and party chief of Xiangfan. He joined the Communist Party in 1982. He was named mayor of Wuhan in January 2008.
In January 2011, he was promoted to party chief of Wuhan.
As party boss of the provincial capital, he also sat on the Hubei provincial Party Standing Committee. After Ruan ascended to leading positions in Wuhan, abundant construction activity took place all over the city.
Some 5,500 construction sites were operating simultaneously. Some Wuhan locals named him "Manchengwa" (满城挖), a play on his name that literally meant "digs all over town." To this, Ruan responded, "I"m not scared of people calling me "Manchengwa".
If we"re not doing construction, we are doing a disservice to the city." The intense construction work was blamed for extensive flooding after heavy rain in June 2011.
Ruan was credited with explosive infrastructure growth, such as the construction of the Second Ring Road of Wuhan, the Baishazhou Avenue, and the Wuhan Metro Lincolnshire 8. The projects significantly reduced commute times and eased congestion across the city. However, the endless construction also burdened the city"s financial system.
In 2011, total planned investment amounted to over 70 billion yuan (~$10 billion).
To recoup the massive construction costs, the city issued debt through special financial vehicles, backed up by municipal land as collateral, which typically did not show up on the city"s balance sheet (although this practice was common in other Chinese cities as well, at the time), including perpetual bonds.
He studied international communism at the Central China Normal University and also has a doctorate in law.
Ruan is an alternate member of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.