Yu Zhengsheng will be one of the Cabinet members Zhu Rongji relies on to create economic growth.
The Minister of Construction has been appointed to promote private housing sales.
In the mid-1980s, while mayor of Yantai in Shandong, Mr Yu made a name for himself by successfully implementing the nation's first housing commercialisation programme.
His achievement caught the eye of leaders in Beijing and received widespread publicity.
When the party held its 14th Party Congress in 1992, General Secretary Jiang Zemin wanted to put him on the Central Committee. But Mr Yu lost in the election and became an alternate member.
On the eve of last year's 15th Party Congress, Mr Yu, the party secretary of Qingdao, was promoted, taking the titles of vice-minister of construction and party group secretary in Beijing.
He is allowed to keep the original structure and staff of the ministry without reorganisation. His experience in Yantai will help him, especially in construction.
His close links with President Ziang will be important as he will have a direct communication channel with the top leadership. Combine this with his strong family background, and Mr Yu is widely expected to have a bright political future.