The Cys2/His2-type zinc finger proteins have been implicated in different cellular processes involved in plant development and stress responses. Through microarray analysis, a salt-responsive zinc finger protein gene ZFP179 was identified and subsequently cloned from rice seedlings. ZFP179 encodes a 17.95 kDa protein with two C2H2-type zinc finger motifs having transcriptional activation activity. The real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that ZFP179 was highly expressed in immature spikes, and markedly induced in the seedlings by NaCl, PEG 6000, and ABA treatments. Overexpression of ZFP179 in rice increased salt tolerance and the transgenic seedlings showed hypersensitivity to exogenous ABA. The increased levels of free proline and soluble sugars were observed in transgenic plants compared to wild-type plants under salt stress. The ZFP179 transgenic rice exhibited significantly increased tolerance to oxidative stress, the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging ability, and expression levels of a number of stress-related genes, including OsDREB2A, OsP5CS OsProT, and OsLea3 under salt stress. Our studies suggest that ZFP179 plays a crucial role in the plant response to salt stress, and is useful in developing transgenic crops with enhanced tolerance to salt stress.