China's Oprah Winfrey, Yang Lan Leads Media Convergence Initiative

05/25/2011 12:30 pm ET
  • Kay Koplovitz Founder, USA Network; Chairman and CEO, Koplovitz & Co

We have heard about media convergence for nearly a decade now: how media will be available how we want it, when we want it and where we want it. While we are making strides on fulfilling this prophecy, one woman has already done it. We heard from her at the Paley Center for Media in New York.

Her name is Yang Lan and she is one of the leading media entrepreneurs in China with vast media holdings through her company, Her Village. She began her media career as a newscaster for CCTV 18 years ago, where her face and voice were seen and recognized by 300 million people on any given day. In 1988, CCTV controlled the only national networks to reach the vast majority of China's exploding population. She was a news anchor long before we in the United States even thought this might be possible for a woman.

But Yang Lan was not satisfied with her role in the media. She aspired to owning it. So she left her native Beijing to come to New York to attend Columbia University. After she received her Master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA), she returned to China to launch her entrepreneurial career.

Today. Lan is the founder and Chairman of Her Village, a true multimedia company focused on the upwardly mobile women executive. She is sometimes referred to the Oprah Winfrey of China and sometimes as the country's Barbara Walters. The truth is she is both, and more.

Her Village encompasses a vast network of weekly TV and soon to be daily talk shows focused on the interests of women. The topics covered in that series also appear online in multimedia form through her magazine called LAN, which not only has print articles, but imbeds video from her television interviews.

She has her own channels on China's premiere internet platform,, and distributes programming and information over China's mobile platforms. The parent company, Sun New Media Holdings, owned jointly with her husband, Bruno Wu, has initiated micro pay enabling software to activate purchases through cell phones. And to facilitate purchases by the 40 million up warding mobile women in her network, Lan has launched a Her Village credit card in cooperation with one of China's leading commercial banks.

So when we think about the coming world of convergence, we need to look far beyond our borders to what is being accomplished elsewhere. In this case , we can look to China and Yang Lan, truly a visionary an accomplished entrepreneur who lives the many lives of 21st Century media entrepreneur.