Telum Talks To... Queennie Yang, Editorial Director, BoF China
Veteran journalist Queennie Yang has returned to The Business of China (BoF) as China Editorial Director, travelling across the UK and China to head up the editorial teams in London and Shanghai.
How big is the team of Business of Fashion China? Do journalists at both offices cooperate a lot?
The headquarters of Business of Fashion (BoF) is based in London, while we also have three offices in Shanghai, New York and Paris. We are a growing team of more than 100, and we also have many correspondents and contributors around the world. BoF Global receives more than 1.5 million unique visitors a month, and the daily newsletter has over 570,000 subscribers. BoF China has eight people across London and Shanghai. We work very closely with our head office and an Asia correspondent in Shanghai to share information and insights from global to China and vice versa. We are hiring for editorial, social media or business development roles both at headquarters and in China. If you are interested in joining BoF, you can apply for the roles through our official website or send me an email.
How has BoF China brand developed since its inception?
Five years ago, we launched BoF China, an overseas edition of the BoF. At the time, it was a startup, but it was started to fill a gap in China's authoritative business media in the fashion industry. Due to China's complex and fast-growing environment, we had to develop a targeted strategy for China, at the editorial, commercial and operational level. As our Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed said, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences BoF had ever had. Within five years, we have rapidly grown into the most influential voice in the industry and in Greater China. Through WeChat, Weibo, newsletters and website, BoF China has become an indispensable source of news and insights for our Chinese-speaking community which includes executives, managers, entrepreneurs, creative people and fashion business leaders from all over China.
Tell us more about one of BoF China’s iconic activities...
We currently have two flagship events in China: The annual Bof China Summit and the Bof China Prize. The former is an annual invite-only gathering of industry leaders from home and abroad, focusing on key issues and future opportunities for industry leaders in Greater China and beyond. Just name a few, CEO of Gucci, the President of LVMH Greater China, Yoho! Group's Founder, Xiaohongshu and JD.com executives were our guest speakers. The latter is the world's first international fashion awards designed to identify and support emerging Chinese fashion designers. In addition to the cash award, we also give the winner coaching and support from industry leaders as well as international exposure.
How do you balance your work in London and Shanghai?
Because we are a digital media company, we use a wide range of digital tools to communicate between London and Shanghai seamlessly. We are able to distribute our editorial assignments more rationally in Asia, Europe and the US. I will focus more on designing BoF China's top-level strategy in all aspects and communicating with the global team, while our Managing Editor Christina Yao, who is based in Shanghai, assists me in the day-to-day management and maintains the relationship with our stakeholders and partners. I also travel more frequently between the UK and China to train and mentor the teams, and I will continue to speak on behalf of the BoF at forums, summits and industry events. For instance, this August I participated in Labelhood Youtopia as their chief education adviser and in the LSE China Forum as a speaker.
Are there any big projects that BoF China’s working on?
As we are approaching the busiest fashion month, we will focus on the performance of Chinese brands in addition to the regular international brands in those big four fashion weeks. We will also focus on Shanghai Fashion Week. We will help Caroline Hu, the winner of our first BoF China Prize, to launch a fashion presentation during London Fashion Week, bringing her into the international fashion world, with a series of events to follow. Another project in the pipeline is the upcoming release of this year's BoF 500, the index of the 500 most influential and prominent persons in the global fashion industry. We will be celebrating it in Paris.
You travel to a lot of different countries. Which city has the most exciting fashion scene?
Besides the big four fashion capitals, I pay close attention to the emerging fashion cities. Seoul, Tbilisi, Lagos and other cutting edge cities have shown amazing vitality and potential. I also have to point out that, in addition to the emerging design power, Shanghai Fashion Week has built an entire fashion business eco-system, making it the largest ordering season in Asia. Relying on China's vast hinterland, this advantage is unparalleled.
You’ve mentioned the term “The Brilliance of Fashion”. How has fashion brought brilliance to your life?
Fashion has not only brought beauty to my life, it has also taught me to look beyond appearances and take a deeper look at people, society and culture. In BoF, we advocate "left brain-right brain" balance of people, I think the fashion business perfectly represents this.
You seem to be a big fan of social platforms, like Instagram and Weibo, where you share both your personal life as well as your love of fashion and arts...
Because I grew up in the digital age as a digital native and because my job is to discover and share my opinions, I naturally enjoy using social media. There is a part of social media where I showcase my work, including my and my team's achievements, as well as the environment and atmosphere in which I work, but a larger part is my personal life and perspectives. I think my social media accounts have broken the myth that people in the fashion industry have no other interests and no life.
Apart from your profession, what else catches your attention?
In recent years I have been interested in quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence and the ethical implications of it, as well as the application of material innovations which can improve sustainability. I also like to watch well-produced TV dramas and documentaries in my spare time.