xi's moments

The face of changing China

By Liu Xiangrui | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-03 08:00

Yang Lan learns to make the rhino-skinlike lacquer, an almost lost heritage revived by Gan Erke, a master from Anhui province, in a documentary program about Chinese craftsmanship called The Legend of Designers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Yang Lan remains a constant presence as her TV career continues to blossom in parallel with the country, Liu Xiangrui reports.

TV host and entrepreneur Yang Lan says she is lucky that her entire career has overlapped with the major part of the country's reform and opening-up, which she calls "a golden three decades for television".

In fact, several major transitions in her career are actually consistent with the development path of the media and entire cultural industry in China.

"Reform gave me the chance to become a TV host in the first place," says Yang, with her signature smile, at her office in downtown Beijing.

In 1990, Yang, freshly graduated as an English major, stood out during her China Central Television recruitment because of her image and natural hosting style-being given the opportunity to host a new program called Zhengda Variety Show.

Yang says she was chosen as one of the hosts because the organization was looking to change its traditional hosting style, and her "clean background" as a young host became an advantage.

The program, which sought to introduce the outside world to a Chinese audience, was innovative, as it featured lighthearted studio interactions with guests.

With the program's rating reaching a record-high 20 percent, she became a household name nationwide.

Despite her success as a young anchor, Yang started thinking about the future, and surprised everyone when, in 1994, she resigned from CCTV and went to study for her master's degree in the United States.

"I wasn't satisfied, and eagerly wanted to see the world," Yang explains, though she had not figured out what exactly she was looking for and in which direction she was headed.

"Most young TV hosts in China tend to face bottlenecks later in their careers. I just believed that I should appreciate in value over time, rather than devalue."

Yang returned from the US in 2001 and started Yang Lan One on One, which was the first high-end TV interview program in China.

The show has become one of the longest running, and most influential, of its kind in China. It has featured interviews with around a thousand public figures, from various fields and many countries, covering hot topics in politics and economics, as well as social and cultural issues-each one offering the personal experiences.

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