Guangzhou executive semi-finalist for 'best job in the world' contest
Chloe Lai in Guangzhou
Yi Yao, 30, loves the sea and scuba diving.
A management executive who works for a multinational company's Guangzhou office, Mr Yi visits different diving destinations in Southeast Asia whenever he is on holiday.
He also travels extensively but has not tried the waters off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
'I would love to scuba-dive on the Great Barrier Reef - it's heaven for every scuba diver,' he said, explaining why he had decided to compete for 'the best job in the world'.
Busy with media interviews, Mr Yi said the organiser told him only yesterday morning that he was one of 50 semi-finalists.
Mr Yi and Ying Yu, a female television tourism programme presenter in Beijing, are among the candidates from 22 countries that Tourism Queensland chose to compete for the job, which entails spending six months on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
A total of 34,684 applicants from about 200 countries entered the contest, Tourism Queensland said, with 500 from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. One Taiwanese team also made the short list, but no one from Hong Kong did.
The job, which starts on July 1, pays A$150,000 (HK$737,600) for six months and also includes free air tickets from the winner's home country to Hamilton Island, known for white sand and clear waters.
In return, the winner will be expected to have as much fun as possible, soaking up the sun, swimming, snorkelling and sailing, and to report to the world via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates. But to land the best job in the world, contestants will have to make videos, write an essay and lobby the world to vote for them.
The 50 will be narrowed down to a final 11 - the top vote-getters from a one-minute video that each semifinalist will be required to make about themselves, and 10 chosen by the judges based on the 300 to 500-word essay.
Videos can be downloaded at www.islandreefjob.com.
The only restriction on voting is that people can only vote once a day.
'I believe I will have an advantage in the popular vote,' Mr Yi said. 'We're Chinese, and I believe my fellow countrymen will vote for me after they learn about this from the media and see my video on the internet.'
The finalists will fly to Hamilton Island in early May to undergo a series of competitions, with the winner being announced on May 6.
The campaign is a key element in a drive to promote Queensland's tourism industry during the global financial crisis.