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China's fashionably outspoken media mogul

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Hung Huang: China's Oprah
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hung Huang is a Chinese entrepreneur and publisher
  • Her mother was well-known in China as Mao's translator in the 1960s and 70s
  • Educated in the U.S., Hung writes a widely-read blog
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(CNN) -- She's been called China's answer to Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour, but Hung Huang never had a plan to be the media and fashion empress she is today.

"I never thought I would be a publisher, and I definitely never ever thought I would be in the fashion business. When I was very young and everybody's supposed to be really into fashion it wasn't something I was very devoted to. But opportunities happen," Hung told CNN.

Hung runs China Interactive Media, publisher of "I-Look", a popular Chinese fashion magazine that blazed a trail for fashion magazines in the country before the likes of Vogue and Cosmopolitan launched their Chinese editions.

However, Hung's public profile in China derives from two very different sources; firstly her family history and more recently, her widely-read blog.

Hung's mother was a translator for Mao Tse Tung and her step-father was a former foreign minister. Later denounced by Mao, Hung's mother spent two years under house arrest, accused of being in collusion with the "Gang of Four".

During that testing time a 12-year-old Hung was sent to the U.S. where she first went to a private school in Manhattan before attending Vassar College. She returned to live permanently in China in 1991 with a quite different set of values from her mother's generation.

"I've come back and forth and back and forth several times [after leaving for the U.S. in 1973]... in 1991 when I decided to stay in China, never in my life would I have thought that China would have come this far. That's for sure," she told CNN.

Despite her exploits in print, Hung now finds herself at the vanguard of the new media revolution in China. Writing a popular blog, her outspoken comments have found an audience among China's educated internet-users, hungry for opinion and satire.

"I hated the idea of blogging, because my dream had always been to make money as a writer, so blogging absolutely kills it because you're writing for free, you put it on, and in this country everybody just takes it off and publishes in newspapers," she said.

Some of China's most reactionary netizens bombarded her blog for expressing her dislike of blogging, which served to spur Hung to write on.

"I had like 2,000 messages to say 'Die!' and the b-word 'because you don't like bloggers'. I thought 'Wow! This must be like one very strong powerful new medium,' so immediately I caved and started blogging," she said.

 
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