Reality TV in China
The sorcerer's apprentice
Sep 15th 2005 | HONG KONG
From The Economist print edition
Chinese television embraces entrepreneurs
CROSSING swords with the “The Donald” is not something to be undertaken lightly. But Vincent Lo, a successful Hong Kong and mainland China property tycoon, is about to clash with Donald Trump, his famous American rival, for the second time in two months—and looks likely to come out ahead again.
Their first confrontation came over a piece of prime New York real estate, which the former business partners sold for $1.76 billion in June. That was $1 billion too little, according to Mr Trump, who says he was not consulted. He sued, promptly lost this August and is now suing again. With that court case rumbling on in the background, the two men are taking their fight to the airwaves. Mr Lo is backing a Chinese reality-television programme modelled on “The Apprentice”, the show that put Mr Trump, with his catch-phrase “You're fired!”, into living rooms across America. Mr Trump is hitting back with plans to launch a Chinese version of his original format. Both shows will be shown across mainland China. But the Trump version will not be ready until October, while Mr Lo's 13-part series, “Wise Man Takes All”, premieres this weekend, on September 17th.
There are other reasons to believe that “Wise Man” may prove more suited to Chinese tastes. Just like “The Apprentice”, it will feature two teams of contestants trying to outdo each other in completing a business task. But this 30-minute recorded slot will be followed by a live half hour during which the contestants present real-life business plans, to be judged by a panel of business professors (with Mr Lo making the occasional appearance). The winner, instead of getting a job, will receive 1m yuan (about $120,000) in start-up funding from Mr Lo's company Shui On to back his or her idea. Rather neatly, Mr Lo, who is as understated as Mr Trump is brash, has thereby avoided the need to publicly lecture, bully or “fire” anyone, a treatment that would leave a Chinese audience squirming in embarrassment.
To be fair, the host of the upcoming Chinese “Apprentice”, Pan Shiyi, also promises not to use the phrase “You're fired”, saying he will politely tell failed contestants that they “have better opportunities elsewhere.” But Mr Pan, a well-known Beijing property developer, is notorious for sacking his worst-performing sales agent every three months. The Chinese “Apprentice” is therefore likely to be much more aggressive than “Wise Man”. That may make better television. But even with a 1m yuan-a-year job at Mr Pan's company on offer as the prize, it also risks offending.
Whichever format succeeds, the real winner is China's private sector. This receives little praise from the government, despite providing three-quarters of China's economic output. The growing popularity of business and financial programmes—and even games shows—reflects a rising level of comfort with entrepreneurs and the pursuit of wealth. After all, regulators are now permitting these new programmes, and reputable TV groups, such as the state-controlled Shanghai Media Group, are producing them. In addition, advertisers are flocking to them.
Ten thousand people sent in business plans for “Wise Man” and the final 16 selected came from every corner of China, including a 31-year-old from the far north who wants to start hostels for backpackers in Beijing and a 24-year-old technology whiz who created his first software company at 16. Naturally, given China's territorial claims, there is also a Hong Konger and a 39-year-old Taiwanese pop star who wants to run a website for the online management of singers. While the programme promises to be entertaining, Mr Lo, who will base the winner at his new centre for start-up firms in Shanghai, says its real task is to foster future business leaders. “Many of us are entrepreneurs at heart,” he says. Surely, that is something he and Mr Trump can agree on.
saje quote pjg2. . 😆
tychoon kaya2 yang terlibat..
apsal tychon mesia tak nak buat lagi aaa?
mungkin mesia nih bukan talent based, tapi chroni based
baca background apprentice Wise Man ni macam menarik je seme…
malaysia buleh gak nak buat..apprentice yang masuk kang bukan takde bakat mistik…
bakat mengipas ade…bakat menyogok ade…bakat tikam belakang ade…
yang pasti apprentice kat mesia ni for sure leeeee macho ke hensem ke cun ke seksi ke….
Pas tu buat sistem sms plak sbb nak tampung kos dan nak untung lagi banyak. Kendian yg jadi aprentice tu mestilah seorang yg bangang tapi hemsem macho atau cun seksi