Cultural IQ In this Issue
1) Largest gift to Yale Business
School by Zhang Lei
2) “Snail House” – TV Drama hot in
Fostering Connections, Illuminating Insights China
3) Upcoming Event – “China
Issue # 9, February, 2010
Zhang Lei donates USD8,888,888 to Yale University Management School
Yale President Richard Levin announced on Jan.4th 2010 that Zhang Lei, MBA’02,
GRD’02 has pledged the largest gift to the Yale School of Management by a
graduate of the school. Zhang’s pledge, made less than 10 years after his
graduation from Yale, also represents the largest gift to date from a young Yale
University Alumnus. Zhang Lei, the founder and managing partner of Hillhouse
Capital Management, will give USD8,888,888 primarily to help build Yale SOM’s
new campus. A portion of the gift will provide scholarly support for the
International Relations Program at Yale’s New Jackson Institute of Global Affairs,
as well as funding for a variety of China‐related activities at Yale University.
There has been lot of discussions ever since this news was released. I have noticed
several details that are interesting.
Firstly, the amount of this gift, USD8,888,888, represents careful consideration
and well‐intention of Zhang Lei. Since in China, number “8” represents good luck,
fortune, success. In fact, all the digits of this pledge are “8”, telling us that Zhang Lei wants this gift to bring
success, fortune to Yale. I wonder if Yale appreciates the meaning of choosing all these “8”.
Secondly, Zhang Lei, a 2002 graduate, now at late thirties, achieved tremendous success at least financially
during the short period of less than 10 years after his graduation. It is said that he was originally from Hunan
Province, a very smart student when he studied in China. He said it was Yale that changed his life.
No doubt, Zhang Lei was one of the beneficiaries of Yale’s
educational system. In fact, his gratitude and emotional connections
is well presented in the name he gave to the Capital Management
fund – Hillhouse, which is the name of the famous and beautiful
Hillhouse Avenue at Yale.
Some Chinese comment that he should donate the money to
Chinese educational institutions since there are millions of kids out
of school in China. In my opinion, it’s everyone’s discretion as to
where and how he/she chooses to allocate their money. I thing
Zhang has done a great thing, in that he is a person of gratitude, and
he is sharing his fortune with people; he is willing to help and
support other people from a higher cause. I believe he should be
applauded for his act of giving.
Snail House – Television Drama hot in China
A recent television drama receives attention and controversial comments, even from a review with Toronto
Star. According to a Star article titled “Show about house prices irks Chinese leadership” on Jan. 21st,
(http://www.thestar.com/news/world/china/article/753651‐‐tv‐drama‐too‐real‐for‐beijing) this TV series tells
harsh truth about contemporary China that the government has called a stop to the broadcast of it through
major TV channels.
I watched the complete 35 series during Christmas holidays at home. The story is about two sisters, both were
graduated from top universities in Shanghai. Although they are only several years apart, to me, they represent
two generations. The older sister, Hai Ping, worked hard with her husband, planning to own their own
property in Shanghai. She counted every penny to save, in order to pay down payment of an apartment.
However, with the increasing of real estate property price in Shanghai (in fact, China!), Hai Ping’s savings and
salary couldn’t match the real estate price increase. She had no other option except tightening further the
budget of expenses and becoming more and more restless with her daily life.
The younger sister, Hai Zao, just graduated from university, found a job as office assistant to a small real estate
developer. One of the job requirements was to develop relationships with government officials so that her
boss could get favorable projects from the government. Between a boyfriend who loved her very much, and a
middle‐aged government corrupt who seems to have all kinds of resources that could solve Hai Zao’s
problems, she chose to become her mistress, living in a huge apartment and was about to give birth to his
Hai Ping and Hai Zao’s lives, their
dreams, desires, love, and choices are
real, typical of the people who live in
cosmopolitans like Shanghai, Beijing,
Guangzhou. I believe the reason this TV
series become popular is partly because
people can relate to their stories easily,
people find Hai Ping and Hai Zao as their
colleagues, neighbors or even sisters…..
Are their choices right or wrong?
Different people have different
standards and answers. Or maybe lot of
questions in life don’t have one answer.
Upcoming events – “China Update”
I am planning to host a bi‐weekly workshop series called “China Update” 中国观察.
China is playing a more and more critical role in the world stage, and because of this, I am constantly updating
myself on various aspects of what’s happening there, the interactions, trends, opportunities, etc.
At the same time, I hope to provide an alternate voice and perspective which maybe different from the
Western media. My reason is simple: You need to hear both sides of the story.
Regarding contents, it is my intention to cover the social, political and businesses aspects including: hot topics,
trends, people, ideas, events, and potential opportunities.
I would like feedback from anyone who is interested on the following:
1) Do you prefer this workshop to be face‐to‐face? Or Teleclass? Webinar? Any good types of media that
2) How often do you suggest we hold this workshop?
3) What other topics or contents do you suggest to cover?
4) If you are interested to join, how many sessions do you commit to come?
Any other suggestions are most welcome!
Look forward to your valuable feedback.
Christine Gao, M.Ed, PCC
Cultural IQ, Fostering Connections, Embracing Diversity