Born in Beijing in 1953, Xi Jinping is the son of revolutionary veteran Xi Zhongxun, one of the Communist Party's founding fathers.
Xi Zhongxun was purged from the post of vice-premier in 1962 prior to the Cultural Revolution and eventually imprisoned.
The younger Xi was then sent, aged 15, to work in the remote village of Liangjiahe for seven years.
Mr Xi has acknowledged that this time spent working alongside villagers was a key experience for him.
He went on to study chemical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, which has produced many of China's current top leaders, including Hu Jintao.
The Associated Press reports he tried to join the Communist Party at least nine times but was rejected because of his father's issues.
Accepted into the party in 1974, Mr Xi served as a local party secretary in Hebei province and then went on to ever more senior roles in Fujian and then Zhejiang provinces.
the celebrity wife
- A well-known Chinese folk singer and actress, Peng Liyuan regularly appears on Chinese state TV's New Year Gala - the most watched TV programme of the year
- She was one of 23 people to receive the first Chinese Arts awards and a one million yuan ($159,800, £100,000) prize in December 2011
- Appointed World Health Organisation Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis in June 2011
- She is a major-general in the People's Liberation Army
He married folk singer Peng Liyuan, who also holds the rank of army general, in 1987. To many in China, Ms Peng was the better-known half of the couple before Xi Jinping became leader of the Communist Party.