The Scottish champions were alerted to the 22-year-old last month during a tour of the Far East that had been designed to boost the club's profile in that part of the world.
Having seen the Beijing Guoan player in action, Lawwell has admitted that he will soon submit an offer for the China international.
"We were informed about him earlier this year. He is an intelligent player and left a profound impression on us. We are very interested in the local market," Lawwell told reporters.
"In addition, we wanted to have a look at Zhang and a better understanding of him. He is a phenomenal player and he is very hopeful of getting a place in the Celtic squad.
"Next year, we will return to Beijing to discuss matters relating to business co-operation and when the time is right, we will invite Zhang to join the team."
Zhang found the net 11 times last season.