China is little known for their celebrities, unlike India’s Bollywood, Chinese celebrity status is restricted to their economic growth and the advisors responsible for it. In the past two weeks however, two Chinese international celebrities stars shone brighter than ever before on the international stage – Wendi Deng, wife of News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch for her unscripted display of marital fidelity and Yao Ming, China’s largest and tallest sports legend for retiring from professional basketball, after having created a religious following for Basketball in China and being a goodwill ambassador between America and China.
Since few Chinese celebrities make it to international stardom, Inchin Closer profiles the two that made it this month.
Wendi Deng: A firebrand personality, voracious news seeker and highly opinionated lady, Wendi’s rise is what the Chinese often call a helicopter rise. One of four siblings from Guangdong, otherwise known as Canton, Wendi left China at the age of 19, to study in the US. Her zesty personality, high cheekbones and IQ, made sure she made the right moves in the land of opportunity. While her first marriage didn’t last long, her second marriage to Rupert Murdoch, his third was a power play for both of them. The marriage helped News Corp gain a foot hold into China, a market the company had been trying desperately to enter for more than a decade and it helped her rise in her career from an employee at News Corp to being the executive that looked after myspace.com. For a woman who has always been at odds with Murdoch’s family and has been labelled a gold digger, the jab to save his face recently has shut her nay sayers up. Its true what they say after all – women do hold up half the sky! Read more on Wendi’s life and achievements here.
Yao Ming: The 30-year-old Shanghai native is worth an estimated US$103million – earned, mainly, through wages from the Houston Rockets, along with US$25million in endorsement earnings from McDonald’s, Reebok, Apple, Gatorade and Visa. He is 7 feet 6 inches tall, and has a customized BMW to fit his frame. Recently dogged by injuries which ceased his basketball career early, Yao had become a soft goodwill ambassador between China and the US; his game bringing ordinary Chinese citizen’s national honor internationally. Using his superpower status in both countries to create amicable relationships, Yao was also highly instrumental in making basketball the cricket of China. Played almost everywhere two people can find space, time and a ball, Yao helped make NBA a household name in China. Married to the captain of China’s National women’s basketball team, Yao was China’s most successful export to the west.