There she met the man who was to become her husband, Giles Chase, another financier, and transferred to the London School of Economics. This triggered a move to Britain. Charles Goodhart, her professor at the university, gave her a reference that helped win her a job as an economist at Barclays Bank.
She had several jobs with different institutions studying China but this was not a fashionable area in those days.
"It is hard to remember that China was of little interest to the Western business community. If you mentioned China, they thought you were talking about porcelain," she laughs.
Now that situation has changed, with almost every conversation on economics or commerce turning at some stage to China.
Fang believes there are business lessons to be learned from the way Mao built his cult leadership "brand," which is almost as omnipresent in China's present mixed economy as it was under doctrinaire communism.
"What is phenomenal is that he united a whole nation -- they all thought like he did. It was amazing the way he ensured that all messages went from the bottom to the top and vice- versa. A lot of management skills went into that," she argues.