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Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: November 1, 2010 NO. 44 NOVEMBER 4, 2010
Striving to Succeed
Media celebrity Xu Jinglei shows Chinese women's ambitions

VERSATILE WOMAN: Chinese media celebrity Xu Jinglei introduces her own jewelry line in August (CFP)

In China the percentage of educated women admitting to being very ambitious is greater than 65 percent—compared to their contemporaries in the United States where it is only 33 percent, said an article on the Newsweek website.

Besides, more than 75 percent of Chinese career women say they are eager to achieve a position as senior manager in various enterprises but in the United States this number is only about 50 percent.

Chinese media celebrity Xu Jinglei, 36, is one of those ambitious women who demonstrates the fighting spirit and success.

Xu's latest movie Go Lala Go!,which hit cinemas nationwide on April 15, took in more than 100 million yuan ($14.7 million) at the box office in its first 13 days.

This movie elevates Xu to membership of the 100-million-yuan-box-office-directors club. She is also its youngest. What's better than the box office is two thirds of the movie's investment was recouped before shooting due to Xu's astute business sense. The movie placed various products ranging from Lenovo to China Mobile and Mazda to Dove, earning Xu also the title of most commercially successful director.

Go Lala Go! was adapted from the best-selling novel series Du Lala's Promotion. The book's popularity brought about the realization Chinese career women have now become a huge group, whose desire for success is as great as any of China's men. The story, centering on the diligent Du taking a high road to promotion, is considered a must read for white-collar workers.

As a woman of ordinary characteristics with no nepotistic family background, heroine Du starts her career as a humble receptionist in a Global Top 500 company and ends up a senior HR manager on a very high salary. As a bonus, she encounters romance in her workplace.

The fourth feature film directed by Xu, the romantic Go Lala Go! depicts Du's joys and pains as she grows from office rookie into a manager. Xu also stars in the film as the heroine.

Similar to the heroine in her film, Xu has achieved great success in her career. Her accomplishments are many and varied: actress, director, blogger, online magazine editor and writer, businesswoman and jewelry designer.

Xu first became famous nationally as a TV and movie actress in the 1990s. She debuted in Tough Guy in 1996 and later appeared in popular productions such as Spicy Love Soup (1997), The Storm Riders (1997), Spring Subway (2002), Confession of Pain (2006) and The Warlords (2007).

In 2002 Xu made her directorial debut with the small-budget movie My Father and I that she also wrote and starred in. The movie established her as an art film director. In 2004, she directed and acted with Chinese actor Jiang Wen in the movie Letter From an Unknown Woman, which won her the Silver Seashell award at the 2004 San Sebastian International Film Festival and made her famous internationally as a new star in directing. In 2006, she teamed up with writer Wang Shuo to make her third movie Dreams May Come.

In addition to her movies, Xu's blog is a further factor in her gaining vast popularity in China. Starting in 2006, with thoughtful and well written articles, up to the present day her blog has attracted more than 300 million clicks, the most visits to a blog in Chinese on the Internet. She is undoubtedly the most popular blogger in China and, in terms of the number of visits, in the world.

"I didn't expect it to be so popular. An avalanche of clicks has encouraged me to keep writing," said Xu.

In 2008, she launched the online magazine Kaila and it was also eagerly embraced by the public.

Recently, she started her own jewelry line KAiLA, which had been a dream of hers since she was a young girl. She doesn't think the online jewelry shop occupies too much of her time and enjoys the feeling of materializing a dream since childhood.

"We should recognize women's ambition," said Yang Dong, associate professor from the School of Psychology of Southwestern University in Chongqing.

Ambition means a desire to advance oneself and being strongly motivated for success, which is reflected in the independence and professionalism of today's Chinese women, Yang said. He said different kinds of ambition have different impacts on people's life. One is the pursuit of power, higher position and above all the desire to control everything; the other is realizing the value of one's life.

"Women's ambition is more the latter, which is also healthier," Yang said.

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