Yang Huiyan
According to Forbes magazine in October 2007 the richest person in China was Yang Huiyan, the 26-year-old daughter of Yang Kwokkeung, a former farmer, brick layer and construction worker whose income soared when he floated the stock for his property development company on the Hong Kong stock market in 2007 — creating four other billionaires. Yang’s worth was estimated by Forbes to be $16.2 billion, more than five times the worth of the top finisher of the Forbes China list in 2006, Huang Guangyu, owner of the Gome stores, and richer than George Soros, Rupert Murdoch and Stephen Jobs. Most of Yang’s money is from the property empire founded by her father.

In 2021 Yang Huiyan and Family were ranked 10th on Forbes list of the richest people in China with a net worth of $29.6 billion, mostly from real estate. Hometown: Foshan Forbes: The heiress is the largest shareholder of real estate developer Country Garden Holdings. Her stake was transferred to her from her father Yeung Kwok Keung, who founded the company and still serves as the chairman. The younger Yang chairs U.S.-listed education firm Bright Scholar Education Holdings. [Source: Jennifer Wang. Forbes, April 6, 2021]

It is not clear exactly how Yang Kwokkeung made all his money. He grew up poor, tending cows as a child, and didn’t own a new shirt until he was 18. He began working on construction sites after his father’s gambling losses left his family without money. His luck appears to have turned when he was 24 and began working for a property management firm. Within six years he was head of its construction division.

In the early 1990s, with several partners, Yang began buying up property and wasteland at a time when the property market was shaky and property values were low. His timing was perfect. He started out with 87 hectares of farmland and bought more and more land as the real estate market boomed. He now owns an estimated 18 square million meters of land — the fourth largest land holdings of any developer in China — most of it in booming Guangdong province.

Yang Huiyan, the daughter, graduated from Ohio State and married the son of a top Chinese official that she met on a blind date in 2004. Yang transferred his stake in his firm, Country Garden Holding Company, to her in 2005 along with smaller stakes to his two other daughters. Garden is now backed by Morgan Stanley and UBS and was forecast to make $500 million in profits in 2007. In its initial public offering in April 2007 it attracted more money than Google did with its IPO. Asked why he gave his money to his daughter Mr. Yang told a Hong Kong newspaper, “Even if I reach the age of 100, I am going to give it to her anyway. She's family and I have faith in her.”

Hurun Report ; Forbes Rich Chinese List ; Forbes Lists ; Expert: Huang Yasheng, who teaches at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an expert on Chinese entrepreneurs.

Zhang Yin

left rightZhang Yin, a 49-year-old woman and founder of Nine Dragons Paper Co., was ranked as the richest person in China in 2006 and the richest self-made woman in the world, with an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion, more than Oprah Winfrey or Harry-Potter-author J.K. Rowling. On the Forbes list she was ranked fifth, with a net worth of $1.5 billion, up from 107th in 2005.

Zhang Yin, who also goes by the her Hong Kong name Cheung Yan, made her fortune turning recycled paper from the United States and Europe into packaging in China used to in everything from toys, to electronics to furniture. Much of her wealth was created when she listed her company on overseas stock markets and stock prices surged after announcing a net profit of $174 million in fiscal 2004.

Zhang is the eldest of eight children born into a military family in Heilongjiang Province She said in one interview that when she was growing up her family only ate meat on holidays and the clothes they wore were often patched. During the Cultural Revolution her father was sent to prison after being branded a “capitalist roader.” In the United States, she married her second husband Liu Ming Chung, who was born in Taiwan, brought in Brazil and speaks fluent English. He is her chief business partner. Her oldest son is on the board of directors for her company. Her brother is the company’s deputy chief executive.

Those that have worked with her say that Zhang is driven and tough and she uses carrot and stick tactics to get the most out of her employees. A former partner told the New York Times. “When her employees asked for a pay raise, she would grant it if it was reasonable. But when her employees made mistakes, she would criticize them severely. She made it clear when to reward and when to punish.” Others credit her success to her skills as an astute deal maker and her outgoing personality.

Zhang Yin’s Business History

In 1985, with less than $4,000 to her name, Zhang set up a paper trading business in Hong Kong . Her timing was good. She started her business at a time when the paper recycling business was booming in Hong Kong. She told the New York Times a man in the business there told her, “Waste paper is like a forest. Paper recycles itself, generation after generation.”

Pocketing substantial profits she moved six years later to the United States, where she founded America Chung Nam, currently the largest exporter of scrap paper from the United States and the world’s biggest paper trading company. As late as 2002 she and her husband were driving around the United States in a rented Dodge Caravan begging garbage dumps to sell her their scrap paper.

Zhang made substantial profits cashing in on paper shortages in China and using superior paper from the United States (paper there is made from wood pulp as opposed tp grass, rice stalks or bamboo as is the case in China) and shipped huge containers full of paper to China. Chung Nam has shipped more material from the United States to China than any other company for consecutive years since in 2000.

The Hong Kong University student organization’students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) — reported on abuses of workers at Nine Dragons Papers, owned by Zhang Yin.

20080225-9 dragon.jpg
Nine Dragons factory

Zhang Yin’s Success

In 1995, Zhang set up a mill in Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta of Guangzhou to handle paper imports from the United States. As of 2007, the mill was the biggest manufacturer of paper in China, with 11 giant paper making machines, 5,300 employees, and $1 billion in annual revenues. A huge new facility is under construction in the Yangtze River Delta near Shanghai.

Zhang once said, “My desire has always been to be a leader in an industry.” The paper mill in Dongguan became the cornerstone of Nine Dragons Paper, now China’s leading manufacturer of container board, a business that has grown exponentially as demand for packaging for all kinds of products has grown.

Nine Dragons went public in March 2006 when it was listed on the Hong Kong market and raised $500 million. By January of 2007 its value quadrupled to $5 billion, with Zhang’s family controlling 72 percent of the shares. Nine Dragons is poised to be a major player in the world. It has cheap labor and some of the most advanced paper machines in the world. Profits for the company were $175 million in 2006, a 349 percent increase from the previous year. Nine Dragins can not keep up with demand even though it continues to grow at a break neck pace.

Wendi Deng

Wendi Deng was the wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The Chinese-born, Yale-educated Deng has been accused of social climbing, gold-digging, and even sleeping her way to the top but she achieved much in her own right before she ever med Murdoch, although her methods sometimes raised eyebrows. [Source: Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho, CNN, June 15, 2013]

When she just eighteen, she met an expatriate American couple Jake and Joyce Cherry. Joyce taught Deng English and was eventually to help get her into California State University. In the meantime Deng started an affair with Jake, an engineer who had been briefly assigned to advise a Chinese manufacturing company. The Cherrys, having returned to California, took Deng into their home. Joyce eventually discovered the affair and kicked them out. Jake soon married Deng and they remained married just long enough for her to secure a green card. Within months of the wedding, however, Deng had started an affair with a younger man. After a spell at Yale she established herself in television in Hong Kong, where she met Murdoch (who owned the television company). [Source: Eamonn Fingleton, Forbes, June 16, 2013]

Deng is 38 years younger than Murdoch. Forbes said Murdoch was worth $9.4 billion in 2013. His global media empire includes the Wall Street Journal, Times Newspaper Ltd, as well as television channels such as Fox News and Sky, and the 20th Century Fox movie studio. During her marriage with Murdoch, Deng gave birth to and raised two girls, Grace and Chloe. (Murdoch has four other children from his two previous marriages, some of whom hold prominent posts at News Corp.)

Wendi Deng’s Early Life

Deng was born in 1968 in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, a coastal province in China, at the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. She has talked about growing up "very, very poor" in a small town in China, as the daughter of a factory engineer. Deng eventually landed in the United States, including earning a master's degree at the Yale School of Management, where she now serves on its Board of Advisors. Before she met Murdoch, she married the man who had sponsored her student visa in the United States during the late 1980s. She'd secure a "green card" to stay permanently in the United States — but her first marriage proved brief.

Melinda Liu wrote in Newsweek, “Wendi grew up during a bloody period in her country’s history. Her parents, devout members of the Communist Party, first named her Wenge, meaning “cultural revolution,” to reflect the times; as the mood lightened in the land, she changed her name to the more agreeable Wendi, or “cultural enlightenment.” Her father, a factory manager, and her mother, an engineer, earned a combined monthly salary of about $43 on which they supported a son and three daughters. Although Wendi later described living conditions as “very, very poor,” by the standards of the day, they led a white-collar life.” She changed her name to Wendi in her teens when China began opening up to the world.

In 1987 Deng met Jake Cherry, a businessman from Los Angeles who was in China to establish a freezer-making factory. He helped her to move from Guangzhou to Los Angeles when she was 19 and sponsored Deng's visa to the US where, according to a 2000 profile in the Wall Street Journal, she lived with Cheery and his wife Joyce and shared a bedroom with their five-year-old daughter. Jake Cherry divorced his wife and in 1990 married Deng who had enrolled in California State University at Northridge.

The marriage ended after less than three years but that was long enough for Deng to secure a green card and live in the U.S. as a resident alien. “I loved that girl,” Jake Cherry told The Wall Street Journal. ‘she told me I was a father concept to her, and it would never be anything else.” Wendi then went on to Yale to study for an M.B.A. and then landed a job at the Asia-based Star TV, owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. as an intern in 1996. By some accounts she won a place at Star by chatting up a Star executive on a flight to Hong Kong.

Eamonn Fingleton wrote in Forbes, “An unshakeable self-confidence seems to be key. When, in her mid twenties, she began work in Hong Kong as a lowly gofer for an English-language television station, for instance, she immediately developed unorthodox techniques for making an impression. In ensuring that everyone knew who she was, she used to waltz in unannounced on senior executives. As recounted by Ellis, a particularly memorable episode concerned Robert Bland, a pony-tailed Australian, who as head of the station’s successful advertising sales department was probably not one to be trifled with. Having made his acquaintance the previous day, she spotted him walking down a corridor. In full view of several colleagues, she snuck up behind him and yanked his ponytail. For a split second the surprised Antipodean was beside himself with apoplexy. As he swung round, Deng chirped, “I’m Wendi! Remember me? I’m the intern. Ha, ha, ha!” Bland’s demeanor instantly morphed from thunder to sunshine. [Source: Eamonn Fingleton, Forbes, June 16, 2013]

Rupert Murdoch Chases Wendi Deng

Reports on how Deng she met Murdoch differ. One version has it that they were introduced at a party in 1998; another that she worked as his interpreter in Shanghai and Beijing. Many say had met Rupert at a corporate event and cocktail party in Hong Kong in 1997 and chatted away the night with her. The meeting took place shortly after Deng's after her graduation from Yale. According to Australian journalist Eric Ellis the first time Deng met Murdoch she accidentally-on-purpose spilled red wine on his trousers. At the time Murdoch was married to Anna Torv, his serene wife of 30-some years and the mother of his children Elisabeth, 42, Lachlan, 40, and James, 38.

Rupert later said in interviews, it was a whirlwind romance. He also told Vanity Fair magazine that he was a "a recently separated, lonely man" when he met Deng, and asked her out to dinner in London and "talked her into staying in London a couple of extra days." He said that the idea the affair began while was married was "complete nonsense." Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho of CNN wrote: “ Deng then went on to work at Star TV, a Hong Kong-based satellite television service that's under Murdoch's corporate umbrella. In a 2011 interview with his wife on CCTV, Murdoch recalled her interpreting for him while he toured the Chinese mainland. A fervent pursuit followed, though Deng didn't necessarily return all his affection. "I fell in love with her, and I asked her. She said no, and it took a long time to persuade her," Murdoch said. [Source: Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho, CNN, June 15, 2013]

Wendi Deng Marries Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch and Deng were married two years later. Their 1999 wedding occurred shortly after Murdoch filed for divorce from his second wife, Anna Torv Murdoch. (Anna Torv wed Murdoch in 1967, the same year he divorced his first wife and one year before Deng was born, according to multiple reports.)

Describing the break up with his second wife, Murdoch told Vanity Fair, "I was traveling a lot and was very obsessed with business and perhaps more than normally inconsiderate." He said with the children grown "the family home suddenly became a home for two people without their central shared interest...We drifted apart to the where things became very unhappy." In July 1999, at the age of 68, Murdoch married then 32-year-old Deng in a private ceremony aboard his yacht Morning Glory in New York harbor. There was a 12 minute fireworks display set to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York". The wedding tok place 17 days after his divorce from the stunned Anna (the settlement reportedly awarded her more than $1 billion).

After the wedding, Murdoch started sporting turtleneck sweaters, beginning his day fruit and soya powder and worked very morning with a professional trainer. Ruport and Wendi’s two daughters, Grace and Chloe, were born in 2001 and 2003, respectively. (Last year, the girls were christened on the banks of the river Jordan in the presence of Queen Rania, and their godparents, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. The event made the cover of Hello magazine.) Melinda Liu wrote in Newsweek, “Rupert’s family, by all accounts, did not react altogether well to his marrying Wendi. His 102-year-old mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who lives in Australia, is still dismayed. Discussing the idea of Wendi and her two young children gaining more control of the Murdoch business in an interview with New York magazine last year, she said, “I hope it never happens.” Rupert’s grown children “do their best to be courteous to Wendi — James is always on his best behavior,” said a former News Corp. executive. [Source: Melinda Liu, Newsweek July 25, 2011]

Wendi Deng After Marrying Rupert Murdoch

Deng had stayed largely out of the public eye. Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho of CNN wrote: “Shortly after the wedding, Murdoch announced his new wife would step down from her executive role at a News Corp. subsidiary in Hong Kong. He described her as "busy working on decorating the new apartment." A Wall Street Journal profile, published in 2000, hinted she didn't entirely leave the business world. Deng frequently accompanied her husband and stepson to meetings with high-ranking Chinese officials, where she'd sometimes intervene "to smooth over potentially awkward situations," according to that report. [Source: Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho, CNN, June 15, 2013]

Eamonn Fingleton wrote in Forbes, “It seems clear that Murdoch learned the full details of Deng’s “controversial” past only after he married her, and then only from reading an account in the Wall Street Journal in 2000 (long before the paper was purchased by his News Corporation in 2007). The next key event seems to have been a television interview in 2006 in which he announced that the two daughters he had with Deng would not inherit the same voting rights in the Murdoch empire as the four children from his earlier marriages. His decision seems to have been influenced by her past – and it seems to have gone a long way towards the final breakdown of the marriage. [Source: Eamonn Fingleton, Forbes, June 16, 2013]

Her Yale profile notes she's a co-founder of Big Feet Productions, an independent studio in East London that makes applications and games for Apple operating systems according to its website. And in 2011, she produced, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," a film set in 19th century China centered on two girls who circumvent cultural restrictions on females.

Wendi Deng’s Life After She Married Rupert Murdoch

Deng translated for her husband and acted as an intermediary or representative for many of his businesses on the mainland. The couple were reported to have bought a house in Beijing in 2004, which was at the time the most expensive courtyard home sold in the capital. Melinda Liu wrote in Newsweek, “In China, the glitterati often shun ostentatious displays of wealth because they fear triggering resentment from the masses. But Wendi and Rupert spared little expense when they purchased a large, traditional “courtyard house” in 2004 that cost a reported $4.4 million — making it the most expensive of its kind sold in Beijing at the time. It has an under-ground swimming pool, a mini-cinema, and “a large function room where you could feed the entire Politburo,” as one Chinese source put it. At a cocktail party I attended there earlier this year, Wendi showed herself an attentive host and a caring mother to her two young daughters, who ran about the compound with other children. [Source: Melinda Liu, Newsweek July 25, 2011]

“In the early days of their marriage, Liu wrote, Wendi was steeped in Rupert’s business, especially the social-networking site MySpace in China. But in the past few years, she has been largely focused on her children, fundraisers for maternal health, and caring for an aging husband “who’s not as vigorous as before,” as one former Murdoch associate puts it.

In terms of her immediate future, Wendi, for now, seems focused on her own projects, including her production of a movie directed by Wayne Wang, who made The Joy Luck Club and Smoke. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on a bestselling novel by Lisa See, opened earlier this month in the U.S. and tells the story of two women who break from the constrictions of 19th-century China. Breaking their isolation, her heroines develop a secret code, writing letters back and forth in the folds of a fan.

When she isn’t felling pie throwers, Wendi has been tirelessly promoting the movie. She was instrumental in getting government permission to film in China, and persuading Jackman to take part in the film. And when the leading lady dropped out at the last minute, Wendi, says See, “got on the phone to Li Bingbing’she’s China’s Meryl Streep — to do the film on 24 hours’ notice.”

Wendi’s considerable dynamism is also focused on a Web project called, meant to revolutionize how news of artworks gets spread on the Web, and especially how they get sold. For about a year now, she has been backing the project with Dasha Zhukova, another billionairess immersed in the art world, with help from über-gallerist Larry Gagosian and investment from Google’s Eric Schmidt, David Tisch, and others. (NEWSWEEK and Credit Suisse co-hosted a preview dinner for the project at the Art Basel art fair this year.)

Wendi Deng and the Pie-Throwing Incident

In 2011, Ms Deng famously leapt to her husband's defence to slap a protester who threw a pie at him as British MPs quizzed him over a phone-hacking scandal that led him to close one of the titles, the News of the World. The protester, comedian Jonnie Marbles came at Murdoch with a shaving-foam pie. Deng leaped into action, lunging at Marbles and smashing his hand with her own. "Mr. Murdoch," said parliamentarian Tom Watson, who minutes earlier had been particularly critical of the media titan, "your wife has a pretty good left hook." Social media erupted in response to what soon became known as "the slap heard round the world" and earned her the sobriquet "tiger wife." The reaction was particularly strong on Chinese microblogs, where many hailed Deng's reaction as a moment of pride for Asian women.

"The harder she slapped, the more we can tell how eager she was to protect her husband ... she is still a woman who longs for love," wrote one person under the handle MissQccc.

Melinda Liu wrote in Newsweek, “To those conditioned to think that a beautiful young woman married to a multibillionaire twice her age could be motivated only by money, Wendi Deng Murdoch — as the world now knows — has offered up a startling riposte. In an unscripted display of marital fidelity that was, also, the most balletic act of violence on television this year, she clouted a man in the head as he approached her husband with violent intent — and a shaving-cream pie. The scene occurred at the parliamentary hearings on July 19, hearings designed, metaphorically, to knock her husband, Rupert, off his pedestal. Instead, it was a Murdoch who did the knocking down that morning, albeit a Murdoch with rangy legs, lustrous black hair, and cheekbones to die for. With one punch, it could be said, Ms. Murdoch revamped her popular image from “gold digger” to heroine, and fiercely protective wife. [Source: Melinda Liu, Newsweek July 25, 2011]

The cameras cut off as she fell to the ground. But the scene didn’t end there. An eyewitness saw Wendi back on her feet, grab the pie plate, and shove it right back into the face of her husband’s attacker, who later described the “rage” in her eyes. As police dragged him away, she pummeled him with punches, then turned to comfort her husband, tenderly hugging him and wiping foam from his jacket.

The fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg says that, shortly after the incident, she emailed her kudos to Wendi, who “messaged right back to say, “I should be thankful to have such a good life with so many friends around me.” Von Furstenberg, who is married to Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC, a parent company of NEWSWEEK, believes Wendi’s athletic defense ‘showed totally who she is. She’s fierce, she’s a ball of fire, she’s a loyal wife. I’ve watched her grow from someone who was a bit shy to this amazing woman, full of energy. Her spontaneous gesture just said it all.” (Echoing these sentiments in the worldly Chinese way, a Beijing netizen enthused: “This adds value to the image of Chinese wives.”)

Wendi Deng Hailed?

“Wendi Deng has been hailed as a new national role model in China as images of her leaping to the defence of Rupert Murdoch sizzle across the internet,” Jonathan Watts wrote in The Guardian. “Deng's agile slapdown of the British comedian who threw a foam pie at her husband while he was being questioned by a parliamentary select committee was the top story on Sina and other leading new portals. Commentators celebrated her vitality, while state news agencies tried to widen the discomfort of the press baron to the entire western media. [Source: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, July 20, 2011]

Deng was praised as a "tiger woman" and "Charlie's Angel". "The image of Chinese women just got a lift," noted a post on the Weibo microblog by Toubenxingfu111. "This adds value to the image of Chinese wives," said another under the name Jihua. "They have previously proved their ability to cook and run a business. Now they can add bodyguard." Others noted that Deng — a volleyball player in her school days — had not just spiked the pie-thrower, she had also lifted the share price of News Corporation.

Several posters said the incident had changed their views of Deng, who had tended to divide opinion in China. "I never used to like Deng because I thought she was too materialistic, but I like her now," said a blogger under the name Jixunli.

The celebrity focus on Deng by bloggers contrasts with the political approach of the state media, who have tried to use the hacking scandal to score points against the western media. "This incident directly exposes the inherent money-seeking nature of western media today, and the false nature of the concepts of 'freedom', 'impartiality' and 'human rights' that they have long bandied about," noted Xinhua news agency in an opinion piece.

"As the scandal has continued to develop, it has become a major assault on the model of media supervision and control in the west." Editorial control in China, however, is ultimately concentrated in the hands of the propaganda department, which faces less scrutiny, accountability and competition. "The Xinhua piece itself, stripped of all nuance and serving the narrow objectives of China's Marxist view of journalism, is an illustration of much that is wrong with Chinese journalism," noted David Bandurski on the China Media Project website.

Wendi Deng’s Character and Perceptions of Her in China

Melinda Liu wrote in Newsweek, “Wendi talks fast, even for a Chinese person, and has a sense of humor that can be blunt. Not long ago, a friend asked why she didn’t have a bodyguard, to which Wendi replied, “I can do anything.” ...A close family friend described Wendi as “a very driven person. She seems to have a plan for her life, which is something probably none of us has.” And he said he expected the much younger, more liberal wife to have a softening effect on her husband’s conservative ideology. “I always thought Wendi would be a mitigating influence on his social circle and his world view. With her, he was mixing with people like Bono and David Geffen, people who would be taking fewer right-wing swipes than perhaps Rupert is used to.” [Source: Melinda Liu, Newsweek July 25, 2011]

“Despite their age gap, friends say Wendi and Rupert share a genuine bond. When he is en route to important meetings, she has been known to call the person at his side?repeatedly?to make sure his tie is straight. They are both hyperinformed and strongly opinionated news junkies with widely varied interests, chief among them the media itself. With a sweet and easy interpersonal dynamic, they genuinely listen as the other one speaks?be it the Greek debt crisis, the coming presidential election, the latest news from China, or the latest gossip from New York. They ‘share a very strong connection,” says Chinese author Mian Mian, who had a small role in a recent film Wendi helped produce.”

Although Deng is admired for her looks, her language skills and a spectacular social climb from a modest home, she is sometimes derided as a family wrecker and gold-digger. Liu wrote in 2011: “Wendi, 42, has long been the object of fascination, often of a disapproving kind...Although she left China more than two decades ago, she is still a polarizing figure, admired or loathed in seemingly equal measure. Hung Huang, a celebrity blogger, says Chinese perceptions of Wendi are best captured by the phrase xianmu-jidu-hen, which translates as “envy-jealousy-hatred.” But her televised right hook in defense of her husband may have moved public opinion in her favor: nearly half the respondents to a Chinese Web survey said it revived their “belief in love.”

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Divorce

In November 2013, News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng reached an "amicable" divorce settlement to end their 14-year marriage. The BBC reported: “The estranged couple told a New York court they would move forward with "mutual respect" and a shared interest in their daughters' welfare. The details of the settlement have not been disclosed publicly.

Murdoch, who was 82-year-old when the divorce was filed, said his marriage with Deng had "irretrievably broken down". The couple have a pre-nuptial agreement and are holding shares in trust for their children. They have two school-age daughters together, Grace and Chloe. Murdoch filed for divorce just days before News Corp was split into two companies, one for its entertainment assets and the other for its publishing business. Mr Murdoch is chairman of both firms. [Source: BBC, November 20, 2013]

At the time the divorce was filed, Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho of CNN wrote: “It's not known what precipitated the split to end the marriage that began in 1999. Speculation, though, has swirled for months about the state of the couple's relationship. The divorce comes at a tenuous time for News Corp., which recently approved a plan to split its operations into two publicly traded companies. [Source: Joe Sterling and Greg Botelho, CNN, June 15, 2013]

Speculating on what was behind the divorce and its impact,Eamonn Fingleton wrote in Forbes that Deng’s “controversial” past, which Murdoch learned about in full only after he married her, “seems to have gone a long way towards the final breakdown of the marriage. If this inference is correct (and all the circumstantial evidence from various people who know the couple suggests it is), Deng has had many years to prepare for this moment. She must moreover be counted a particularly determined opponent. The main issue here would appear to be equal treatment for her children in the Murdoch empire’s unusual voting structure (it seems they will be treated equally in purely financial terms). If they get equal voting rights and Murdoch passes on before they reach majority, Deng would presumably vote on their behalf — and would wield almost one-third of the entire Murdoch family’s votes. Given that Murdoch’s four children from his previous marriages do not always pull together, the implication is that she would end up, for a time at least, controlling one of the world’s most powerful media empires.[Source: Eamonn Fingleton, Forbes, June 16, 2013]

“Perhaps the strangest thing about this episode is the timing. There is for a start the fact that remarkably few men in their eighties, irrespective of the state of their marriages (or their bank balances), sue for divorce. There is also the fact that Murdoch has spent the last two years in an exhausting effort to steer News Corporation through the British phone hacking affair. He has still not fully recovered from what probably counts as the most stressful episode in his entire life and has not completed the proposed restructuring of the company. The circumstances suggest a particularly unpleasant breach – and one in which to say the least the ambitious adventuress from Jinan has hitherto stood her ground.”

Image Sources: 3) Yang Huiyan and her family, China Daily; 4) Others, and Forbes; Wendi YouTube

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated October 2021

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