The Conversation: The Most Famous Woman in China

Television host and businesswoman Yue-Sai Kan reflects on a changing China.

Nov. 12, 2010 — -- For hundreds of millions of Chinese, Yue-Sai Kan is a household name. The journalist, television host, entrepreneur and author has been a key figure in modern Chinese culture for 20 years, and she continues to have her finger on the pulse of the Chinese people.

An American citizen who now splits her time between New York and Shanghai, Yue-Sai Kan has witnessed the tremendous changes in China in recent decades firsthand, and has even had a hand in bringing some of the change about.

"China is changing very, very fast. The economy has grown like crazy. It is really different than when I first started doing business in China in 1984," Yue-Sai said.

Yue-Sai became famous in China by hosting television programs, which routinely garnered an audience of hundreds of millions of people.

"In those days, there was one network and one station," Yue-Sai said. "I didn't have to be a genius to become a household name."

Yue-Sai may be humble about her fame, but she's certainly proved herself to be a savvy businesswoman. Capitalizing on her name, she introduced her own line of cosmetics in 1996, helping to popularize makeup among Chinese women.

Yue-Sai's popularity has drawn comparisons to Oprah's influence in the United States, but she is quick to point out that there are important differences.

"The television in China is so different. First of all, media is so controlled. Media is always controlled by the government," she said. "You can't own a media company."

As "World News" prepares to broadcast from China next week, Yue-Sae Kan spoke with ABC's Andrea Canning via Skype from Shanghai, sharing her insights on a rapidly changing and growing country and its people.

We hope you'll watch.

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