He received his Chinese classical education under private tutelage at home and passed the prefectural competitive examination on 1898 with Hsiu Tsai degree (Bachelor of Chinese Literature). Mr. Hsu studied English at St. John's College, Shanghai, graduating in 1904. He taught in Nanyang High School for two years and won a Government scholarship from Jiangsu province by competitive examination. He entered Yale University, New Haven, U.S.A., in the fall of 1906 and graduated in 1909 with Bachelor of Philosophy degree specializing in chemistry. While in America, Hsu Shan-hsiang took up China wood oil and Chinese lacquer-oil varnishes as his special study and received Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 1925.
Hsu Shan-hsiang returned to China in 1910 to serve as a director of studies in the China National Institute in Wusong, Shanghai. He edited a number of scientific text-books both in English and in Chinese (published by the Commercial Press) between 1911 and 1913. Mr. Hsu served as a government assayer in the Department of Mints in the Ministry of Finance, Peking, in 1914-1915.
He joined the faculty of the College of Yale-in-China, in Changsha, as head of the chemistry department in 1916 and continued to serve in the College for 11 years, two of which were spent in America for advanced study as a research fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation. Mr. Hsu took up the post of a professor in the Central University Nanking from 1927.
When the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labor was organised in 1928, he was appointed a technical expert and concurrently director of the department of industry. In these capacities, he set himself to work on the Standardization and Unification of Weights and Measures. He was promoted director of the technical department of the same Ministry in May, 1929, and concurrently director of the Central Industrial Laboratory, Nanjing, in June, 1929.
When the Ministry of Agriculture and Mining and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labor were amalgamated into the Ministry of Industries in December, 1930, he was reappointed director of the technical department. During 1930-1933, his plans were laid for some of the important chemical industries, such as the ammonium sulphate plant, the paper mill, the alcohol distillery, the sugar refinery, etc., which were being realised one by one.
In the spring of 1934, he resigned from the Ministry to go abroad for the third time, investigating nitrogen fixation processes and world's nitrogen industry with particular reference to China.
Qualitative Chemical Analysis