Chuanzhi was born in Zhenjiang in 1944. In 1967, he received a diploma from the Department of Radar Navigation of the People's Liberation Army Institute of Telecommunication Engineering––now called Xidian University. From the 1970s to the 1980s, Chuanzhi worked at the Chinese Academy of Sciences as a researcher.
Lenovo, founded as Legend Computer in 1984, was Chuanzhi's first company. The company was founded in Beijing and later incorporated in Hong Kong in 1988. Its work focused on information technology (IT) until 2000-2001, when it began to diversify business offerings into the fields of financial services, real estate, chemical materials, and food stuffsfoodstuffs. The name Legend was dropped in favor of Lenovo in 2002 once the company decided to expand into other countries.
Legend Holdings is an investment holding company and the parent organization of Lenovo. Like Lenovo, it was founded in 1984. Chuanzhi and ten other researchers founded the company using funding from the Computing Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Other than Lenovo, Legend Holdings controls multiple subsidiaries, including Legend Star, Legend Capital, Hony Capital, Raycom Property Investment Co., and Joyvio Group.