Oprah Times Four in China

August 13, 2012

Oprah may have retired in America, but her Chinese counterparts are still at work with a combined audience approaching one billion people.

After doing research for this post, I thought, how could these four Chinese women be compared to Oprah when her average US audience was a little more than 7 million? Source: Answers.com

The four women I discovered in China that have been described as an Oprah are Chen Luyu, Yue-sai Khan, Hung Huang, and Yang Lan.

I’ve written about Luyu before at You’ve Come a Long Ways, Babe.

Luyu’s audience in China averages 140 million. Her show is called A Date With Luyu, which tackles issues that traditionally have been censored by Chinese media officials. The show’s guests have included people who are HIV-positive, lesbians and transsexuals.

Of Yue-sai Kan, The Conversation: The Most Famous Woman in China says she is a journalist, television host, entrepreneur and author and has been a key figure in modern Chinese culture for 20 years. About 300 million Chinese watch her show.

People Magazine called Yue-sai Kan the most famous woman in China. Money Magazine described her as a Modern Day Marco Polo.

After Kan hosted a live broadcast from China in 1984 for PBS, China’s government asked her to produce One World, the first television series ever produced and hosted by an American on China’s only national network, CCTV. Source: Women of China

The next Chinese Oprah is Hong Huang, who hosts a TV show called Crossing Over. Huang’s mother was Mao Zedong’s English teacher. She was sent to the U.S. for an education as a teenager and returned to become one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Chinese print media.

Hung Huang is the chief executive of the China Interactive Media Group and publishes fashion magazines such as I Look, Time Out and Seventeen. Her Blog, which has an audience of about 15 million, is one of China’s most popular and continues to be one of the top five on Sina.com.

The fourth Chinese Oprah I discovered was Yang Lan, who rose to fame as the host of the Zheng Da Variety Show, which often has an audience of 200 million viewers.

In the following YouTube video clip, Yang Lan talks about how Chinese women are making their mark on China’s future.

She says the younger generation in China is turning away from television and using the Internet for entertainment and information.

If you do the math, you will discover that these four Chinese Oprahs reach an audience of about 700 million compared to America’s Oprah, which had an average audience of seven million when she was still on the air.

Maybe the US Oprah’s claim to fame is because she was the first one, and it has nothing to do with the size of the audience. Did you notice that all of these Chinese Oprahs speak excellent English? I am sure that America’s Oprah doesn’t speak Mandarin.

Now that the US Oprah is gone, her audience may want to see if they can switch to one of China’s four Oprahs.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on November 24, 2010