Yang Lan is often called “the Oprah of China.” The chair of a multiplatform business empire, Yang is pioneering more-open means of communication in the communist nation.
Yang Lan’s rise to stardom in China has drawn comparisons to Oprah Winfrey’s success in the US. It’s easy to see why: Yang is a self-made entrepreneur and the most powerful woman in the Chinese media. As chair of Sun Media Investment Holdings, a business empire she built with her husband, Yang is a pioneer of open communication.
Yang started her journalism career by establishing the ﬁrst current-events TV program in China…
“They don’t know how to respond to my show but then they will start to enjoy themselves. Sometimes they will just sit and listen, sometimes they will sigh. They will shed a tear or two, they will laugh, they will clap their hands,” says TV host Chen Lu Yu.
“Basically if I can get a genuine reaction from them it is good,” she says.
Known as “China’s Oprah,” the 37-year-old TV personality decided 10 years ago on a trip to the United States to model her show, “A Date With Luyu,” on the American TV star Winfrey.
Chen watches Oprah’s show almost daily and while she finds the comparisons to her flattering, says it “much easier to be yourself than try to be someone else.”
The term China’s Oprah has been used for several female media personalities, but Hung Huang may be the one that comes the closest.
Ms. Hung, chief executive of China Interactive Media Group, runs a fashion magazine, has hosted several TV talk shows, starred in a movie, published three books and writes a personal blog that’s attracted roughly 112 million hits and a microblog that’s followed by some 832,000 fans.
It seems that any Chinese woman with a significant presence in media, whether on a talk show or at the head of a company, will get labeled by the Western media as a “Chinese Oprah.” (This ignores how the real Oprah Winfrey succeeded in spite of a really rough childhood and an environment of pretty serious racial prejudice.)