Zhang was born in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang. He entered the Central Academy of Drama and majored in acting in 2003. At the start of his life, his prudishness led him to doubt his potential to be an actor. Zhang lingered around Beijing Railway Station to make a short video. He shot his video as a romantic love story, which sprung from the story of a ragged man. As a result of the video, Zhang was rewarded and was determined to stick with acting.
Hans Zhang graduated from Central Academy of Drama in 2007. He rose to fame for his role as Murong Yunhai in popular Chinese idol drama Meteor Shower (2009) and its sequel, Meteor Shower II (2010). In 2010, he starred in the Korean-Chinese animal film Hearty Paws 2 alongside Song Joong-ki.
In 2011, Zhang hosted Hunan TV's variety program Great Sunday with Meteor Shower co-stars Peer Zhu and Vision Wei.
In 2012, Zhang starred in the romantic comedy drama The Queen of SOP alongside Joe Chen. It achieved high ratings throughout its run, leading to increased recognition for Zhang. He was recognized as the Most Influential Actor at the Asian Idol Awards, and was coined Mainland's "No.1 Idol Actor" for his successful work in idol dramas. He then starred in historical drama Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties (2013), which surpassed 5% ratings for a single episode and received positive reviews from critics. Zhang won the Most Popular Actor award at the 19th Shanghai Television Festival.
In 2014, Zhang joined the travel reality program Divas Hit the Road. He then starred alongside Zhao Liying in the romantic comedy drama Boss & Me, based on Gu Man’s popular novel Come and Eat, Shan Shan. Boss & Me was a huge hit both domestically and overseas. Zhang won the Asian Star award at the Seoul International Drama Awards.
Following the establishment of his studio in 2015, Zhang announced that he would be taking part in the production of two upcoming dramas, The Rhapsody of a Summer Dream and Paris is Not in a Good Mood.
In 2016, Zhang starred in the television adaptation of the Chinese mythical novel, Classic of Mountains and Seas. He was nominated for the Best Actor award at the Huading Awards. The same year, he starred in the crime thriller Ten Deadly Sins, based on the novel of the same name.
In 2017, Zhang co-starred in Wu Jing's action film Wolf Warriors 2. He received praise for his role as a factory heir and army fanatic. He then starred in the revolutionary drama film Eternal Wave alongside Aaron Kwok and Zhao Liying. The same year, Zhang played Run Run Shaw in the drama The Legendary Tycoon, which narrates the life of the tycoon.