Annabel Yao, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei’s youngest daughter, has made her formal debut in China’s entertainment industry.
Beijing T.H Entertainment Co. made the announcement on Thursday on the company’s official Weibo account, attaching a black-and-white poster of the 23-year-old artist and dubbing her “the rule-breaking princess.”
“This is a special birthday gift to myself,” said Yao sharing the post on her official Weibo account, referring to her birthday on January 14.
“I’ve never considered myself a so-called ‘princess’. Like other people my age, I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today. You’ve got to work hard and try new things all the time to find your direction,” Yao said in a 17-minute video produced by T.H Entertainment documenting the days prior to her debut. The video also shows her taking vocal and dancing lessons, as well as her journey and struggles when developing her personal style as an artist.
Yao, whose mother is Ren’s second wife Yao Ling, was a Harvard computer science student and ballerina. In November 2018, she made a high-profile appearance at the exclusive Le Bal Debutante ball in Paris.
The announcement of her artist debut sparked much interest in China, with the news becoming a trending topic on Weibo and attracting more than 580 million views.
Her half-sister, 48-year-old Meng Wanzhou, joined Huawei in 1993 and obtained a master’s degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 1998. Meng rose up the ranks over the years, eventually becoming the company’s chief financial officer. On December 1, 2018, she was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities over the alleged violation of sanctions to Iran.
Following her release on bail, she has been placed under house arrest in Vancouver while fighting against her extradition to the U.S. The case is set to be decided in May.