Elaine Yau

Based in Beijing, Elaine is a senior reporter on the culture desk. She covers food, fashion, travel, health and fitness, music, film and TV, arts, lifestyle, as well as insider tips on the best of Beijing. She studied translation in Hong Kong and taught secondary English before joining the South China Morning Post.
Elaine Yau
Based in Beijing, Elaine is a senior reporter on the culture desk. She covers food, fashion, travel, health and fitness, music, film and TV, arts, lifestyle, as well as insider tips on the best of Beijing. She studied translation in Hong Kong and taught secondary English before joining the South China Morning Post.

Latest from Elaine Yau

China’s Beyoncé: how freckled, tanned Chinese pop star Naomi Wang Ju is challenging beauty standards

Naomi Wang shot to fame after appearing on a Chinese reality TV show despite being mocked online for being “chunky” and “dark-skinned”. The singer is now redefining the traditional Chinese sense of female beauty.

20 Apr 2019 - 9:15AM

Naomi Wang shot to fame after appearing on a Chinese reality TV show despite being mocked online for being “chunky” and “dark-skinned”. The singer is now redefining the traditional Chinese sense of female beauty.

China’s Beyoncé: how freckled, tanned Chinese pop star Naomi Wang Ju is challenging beauty standards
Kappa China footwear boss on his love of sneakers, street wear and pushing people’s buttons

Timothy Tsang has been collecting sneakers for a decade but doesn’t like it when people buy limited editions just to make a profit. He talks about his personal style and how Kappa is switching its focus.

11 Apr 2019 - 8:40PM

Timothy Tsang has been collecting sneakers for a decade but doesn’t like it when people buy limited editions just to make a profit. He talks about his personal style and how Kappa is switching its focus.

Kappa China footwear boss on his love of sneakers, street wear and pushing people’s buttons
Spain, Bordeaux, Tasmania: young Chinese winery owners bring global vision, business savvy

Howard Chang Kwok’s chateau in Pomerol produces merlot-based wines. A Peking U MBA graduate and his cousin make a range of wines in Tasmania. They and people like them inject not just capital, but new ideas into winemaking.

11 Apr 2019 - 7:58PM

Howard Chang Kwok’s chateau in Pomerol produces merlot-based wines. A Peking U MBA graduate and his cousin make a range of wines in Tasmania. They and people like them inject not just capital, but new ideas into winemaking.

Spain, Bordeaux, Tasmania: young Chinese winery owners bring global vision, business savvy
Rare diseases in China, their high treatment costs, and the people publicising patients’ plight

Yin Yuanyue, 29, is one of the 20 million people who suffer from rare diseases in mainland China, but of the 121 rare conditions on the government register, none entails free treatment.

1 Apr 2019 - 6:27PM

Yin Yuanyue, 29, is one of the 20 million people who suffer from rare diseases in mainland China, but of the 121 rare conditions on the government register, none entails free treatment.

Rare diseases in China, their high treatment costs, and the people publicising patients’ plight
A family divided: separation and estrangement and the social taboos that surround them

Sexual, physical and mental abuse, betrayal and poor parenting are the main causes of estrangement in families. An expert recommends reconnection, but only if any abuse has stopped and everyone is ready for it.

21 Mar 2019 - 8:33PM

Sexual, physical and mental abuse, betrayal and poor parenting are the main causes of estrangement in families. An expert recommends reconnection, but only if any abuse has stopped and everyone is ready for it.

A family divided: separation and estrangement and the social taboos that surround them
Chung Kuo, revisited: how Antonioni’s 1972 documentary on communist China was unfairly attacked – and finally vindicated

The Italian director was invited by the Chinese government in 1972 to make a film singing the praises of the communist revolution. His film was banned in China for 40 years and is the subject of a new Chinese documentary, Seeking Chung Kuo, that talked to people from the original film.

19 Mar 2019 - 6:31PM

The Italian director was invited by the Chinese government in 1972 to make a film singing the praises of the communist revolution. His film was banned in China for 40 years and is the subject of a new Chinese documentary, Seeking Chung Kuo, that talked to people from the original film.

Chung Kuo, revisited: how Antonioni’s 1972 documentary on communist China was unfairly attacked – and finally vindicated
The truth behind compulsive liars: how dishonesty can be sign of a mental health problem

Pathological lying can be a symptom of mental illnesses such as narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. US President Donald Trump and novelist Dan Mallory are among public figures accused of it.

11 Mar 2019 - 8:53PM

Pathological lying can be a symptom of mental illnesses such as narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. US President Donald Trump and novelist Dan Mallory are among public figures accused of it.

The truth behind compulsive liars: how dishonesty can be sign of a mental health problem
How AI is writing books and music, but won’t be replacing humans any time soon

A growing number of creative types around the world are taking advantage of AI technology to supplement their works, but the consensus is that AI lacks the soul to create anything truly great – yet.

10 Mar 2019 - 8:47PM

A growing number of creative types around the world are taking advantage of AI technology to supplement their works, but the consensus is that AI lacks the soul to create anything truly great – yet.

How AI is writing books and music, but won’t be replacing humans any time soon
Green Book has near-record opening weekend in China after Oscar best picture win

Film about the bond between a black pianist and his white chauffeur touring the US Deep South, the first best picture winner with a Chinese co-producer, takes US$15 million in opening weekend in China.

4 Mar 2019 - 7:08PM

Film about the bond between a black pianist and his white chauffeur touring the US Deep South, the first best picture winner with a Chinese co-producer, takes US$15 million in opening weekend in China.

Green Book has near-record opening weekend in China after Oscar best picture win
Future trajectory of science fiction in China uncertain despite soaring success of The Wandering Earth

The box office success of the space rescue film would have been unthinkable five years ago, say promoters of science fiction genre; as yet, relatively few Chinese science fiction writers have enjoyed success.

7 Mar 2019 - 4:27PM

The box office success of the space rescue film would have been unthinkable five years ago, say promoters of science fiction genre; as yet, relatively few Chinese science fiction writers have enjoyed success.

Future trajectory of science fiction in China uncertain despite soaring success of The Wandering Earth
Five rising Malaysian and Singaporean stars who are making waves in Chinese show business

From Singaporean heartthrob Lawrence Wong, a star of Story of Yanxi Palace, to Malaysian singer Azora Chin, young overseas-Chinese entertainers have shone. Here are five that Chinese audiences have taken to their hearts.

1 Mar 2019 - 7:03PM

From Singaporean heartthrob Lawrence Wong, a star of Story of Yanxi Palace, to Malaysian singer Azora Chin, young overseas-Chinese entertainers have shone. Here are five that Chinese audiences have taken to their hearts.

Five rising Malaysian and Singaporean stars who are making waves in Chinese show business
Five actresses who could become the next Fan Bingbing: up-and-coming Chinese talents

After Fan Bingbing’s hasty exit from the spotlight, her position as spokeswoman for many Chinese products is up for grabs. From Dilraba Dilmurat to Zhao Liying, these actresses are making waves in their home market and could take her spot.

23 Feb 2019 - 7:01PM

After Fan Bingbing’s hasty exit from the spotlight, her position as spokeswoman for many Chinese products is up for grabs. From Dilraba Dilmurat to Zhao Liying, these actresses are making waves in their home market and could take her spot.

Five actresses who could become the next Fan Bingbing: up-and-coming Chinese talents
Marin Alsop, pioneering female orchestral conductor, talks gender equality and rising to the top in a male world

The first female music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin will conduct the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong. She gives her thoughts on touring China and the state of classical music today.

20 Feb 2019 - 3:57PM

The first female music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin will conduct the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong. She gives her thoughts on touring China and the state of classical music today.

Marin Alsop, pioneering female orchestral conductor, talks gender equality and rising to the top in a male world
Starring Hu Jun, modern Chinese take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet transcends geography and culture

Directed by Li Liuyi in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark will come to Hong Kong in March as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

14 Feb 2019 - 6:45PM

Directed by Li Liuyi in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark will come to Hong Kong in March as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Starring Hu Jun, modern Chinese take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet transcends geography and culture
Prize-winning coder itching to use AI for early cancer diagnosis, but Hong Kong hospitals stuck in digital dark ages

Having lost a relative to cancer, prize-winning coder Scotty Kwok is itching to use AI to aid early diagnosis of the disease, but start-up he co-founded has no medical clients, with Hong Kong hospitals stuck in the digital dark ages.

11 Feb 2019 - 7:20PM

Having lost a relative to cancer, prize-winning coder Scotty Kwok is itching to use AI to aid early diagnosis of the disease, but start-up he co-founded has no medical clients, with Hong Kong hospitals stuck in the digital dark ages.

Prize-winning coder itching to use AI for early cancer diagnosis, but Hong Kong hospitals stuck in digital dark ages
We shot Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi: inside China’s famed photo studio

China Photo Studio in Beijing has been taking photos of China’s elite, as well as weddings and other events, since 1937. The studio has survived a number of upheavals in its business and competition from new chains.

9 Feb 2019 - 8:24PM

China Photo Studio in Beijing has been taking photos of China’s elite, as well as weddings and other events, since 1937. The studio has survived a number of upheavals in its business and competition from new chains.

We shot Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi: inside China’s famed photo studio
Pufferfish in China: diners lured by delicacy now country has bred them poison-free

A prized delicacy in Japan, where poisonous varieties are prepared by skilled chefs, pufferfish are giving spicy crayfish a run for their money in Beijing. That’s because Chinese fisheries have bred the poison out of them.

7 Feb 2019 - 6:27PM

A prized delicacy in Japan, where poisonous varieties are prepared by skilled chefs, pufferfish are giving spicy crayfish a run for their money in Beijing. That’s because Chinese fisheries have bred the poison out of them.

Pufferfish in China: diners lured by delicacy now country has bred them poison-free
Inside the emperors’ Chinese New Year celebrations: immersive experience at Beijing’s Forbidden City reveals all

Digital immersive display at the museum brings royal festivities for the Spring Festival vividly to life; exhibition also features a static display of over 800 cultural relics, including Lunar New Year decorations.

6 Feb 2019 - 7:47AM

Digital immersive display at the museum brings royal festivities for the Spring Festival vividly to life; exhibition also features a static display of over 800 cultural relics, including Lunar New Year decorations.

Inside the emperors’ Chinese New Year celebrations: immersive experience at Beijing’s Forbidden City reveals all
The Wandering Earth could be the film to spark China’s science fiction moviemaking

The Wandering Earth, starring Wolf Warrior’s Wu Jing, is a sci-fi movie of epic scale that could inspire more quality Chinese sci-fi blockbusters after a frankly embarrassing line of substandard productions.

4 Feb 2019 - 7:01AM

The Wandering Earth, starring Wolf Warrior’s Wu Jing, is a sci-fi movie of epic scale that could inspire more quality Chinese sci-fi blockbusters after a frankly embarrassing line of substandard productions.

The Wandering Earth could be the film to spark China’s science fiction moviemaking
How AI is revolutionising drug industry by cutting pharmaceutical development time, says leading company
  • AI can save up to two years in pharmaceutical research and development time, says CEO of drug-development company Insilico Medicine, which is moving its headquarters to Hong Kong.
28 Jan 2019 - 8:36PM
  • AI can save up to two years in pharmaceutical research and development time, says CEO of drug-development company Insilico Medicine, which is moving its headquarters to Hong Kong.
How AI is revolutionising drug industry by cutting pharmaceutical development time, says leading company
Eight films battling it out for Chinese New Year supremacy in China’s cinemas

The Chinese box office took more than US$800 million in the first week of Lunar New Year in 2018. From comedy to sci-fi to animation, these eight new releases for the holiday season are highly anticipated.

27 Jan 2019 - 12:04PM

The Chinese box office took more than US$800 million in the first week of Lunar New Year in 2018. From comedy to sci-fi to animation, these eight new releases for the holiday season are highly anticipated.

Eight films battling it out for Chinese New Year supremacy in China’s cinemas
Chinese martial arts ‘backward’ compared to MMA, says fighter who knocked out tai chi master

Xu Xiaodong famously knocked out a tai chi master who claimed mystical powers. He says that Chinese martial arts skills are 40 years behind Western MMA techniques, but that his efforts to modernise them have been thwarted.

23 Jan 2019 - 4:01AM

Xu Xiaodong famously knocked out a tai chi master who claimed mystical powers. He says that Chinese martial arts skills are 40 years behind Western MMA techniques, but that his efforts to modernise them have been thwarted.

Chinese martial arts ‘backward’ compared to MMA, says fighter who knocked out tai chi master
Chinese cinema turns to low-budget films as blockbusters fail to draw box-office gold

While Chinese audiences flock to small-budget productions by young up-and-coming directors, there are also signs that blockbusters featuring A-list directors and stars are losing their power over film-goers.

11 Jan 2019 - 6:02PM

While Chinese audiences flock to small-budget productions by young up-and-coming directors, there are also signs that blockbusters featuring A-list directors and stars are losing their power over film-goers.

Chinese cinema turns to low-budget films as blockbusters fail to draw box-office gold
Why Michelin shouldn’t make China restaurant guides and the ones locals are more likely to turn to

Guides such as Meituan-Dianping’s Black Pearl book and the Flavours food app are known for adopting a more Chinese perspective on food quality. Plus: Black Pearl’s 10 top rated restaurants in China.

10 Jan 2019 - 7:19AM

Guides such as Meituan-Dianping’s Black Pearl book and the Flavours food app are known for adopting a more Chinese perspective on food quality. Plus: Black Pearl’s 10 top rated restaurants in China.

Why Michelin shouldn’t make China restaurant guides and the ones locals are more likely to turn to
The top 10 films at the Chinese box office, and the five biggest flops, in 2018

Patriotic hit Operation Red Sea, franchise comedy Detective Chinatown 2, and a Chinese Dallas Buyers Club took top honours, eclipsing Hollywood films; Hong Kong stars had a hand in some of the worst performers.

1 Jan 2019 - 1:13PM

Patriotic hit Operation Red Sea, franchise comedy Detective Chinatown 2, and a Chinese Dallas Buyers Club took top honours, eclipsing Hollywood films; Hong Kong stars had a hand in some of the worst performers.

The top 10 films at the Chinese box office, and the five biggest flops, in 2018
K-pop group Big Bang turn to art to broaden their appeal, a growing trend among singers and actors

Big Bang join a growing list of stars, including Bob Dylan, Edison Chen and Jim Carrey, who have branched out by holding art exhibitions

31 Dec 2018 - 7:40PM

Big Bang join a growing list of stars, including Bob Dylan, Edison Chen and Jim Carrey, who have branched out by holding art exhibitions

K-pop group Big Bang turn to art to broaden their appeal,  a growing trend among singers and actors
The KFC China story: how Taiwanese businessman Tony Wang Tatung introduced a nation to fast food, and why there are no Chinese franchises overseas

When KFC opened in Beijing in 1987, it was the first US fast food outlet in any communist country. Tony Wang, who led the project, introduced new concepts, including hygiene and the art of queuing.

19 Dec 2018 - 8:55PM

When KFC opened in Beijing in 1987, it was the first US fast food outlet in any communist country. Tony Wang, who led the project, introduced new concepts, including hygiene and the art of queuing.

The KFC China story: how Taiwanese businessman Tony Wang Tatung introduced a nation to fast food, and why there are no Chinese franchises overseas
Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro’s China release is a box office hit 30 years on

My Neighbor Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, shown in China three decades after its initial worldwide release, was second biggest box office draw there over the weekend. The film earned more than US$418,000 in three days.

18 Dec 2018 - 11:49AM

My Neighbor Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, shown in China three decades after its initial worldwide release, was second biggest box office draw there over the weekend. The film earned more than US$418,000 in three days.

Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro’s China release is a box office hit 30 years on
China’s quest for its own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones – a profitable global franchise

Chinese filmmakers hope to emulate the West’s hugely successful film and television franchises, known in China as super IPs. Some fear that poor-quality adaptations tarnish the original material from which they are drawn.

13 Dec 2018 - 6:01AM

Chinese filmmakers hope to emulate the West’s hugely successful film and television franchises, known in China as super IPs. Some fear that poor-quality adaptations tarnish the original material from which they are drawn.

China’s quest for its own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones – a profitable global franchise
Chinese PhDs and MBAs give up city life for farming, driven by desire to improve agriculture and livelihoods

Millions of educated Chinese have left cities to take up farming, inspired to change agriculture or disenchanted with urban life; they practise organic farming and water conservation, and help neighbours to do the same.

12 Dec 2018 - 9:09AM

Millions of educated Chinese have left cities to take up farming, inspired to change agriculture or disenchanted with urban life; they practise organic farming and water conservation, and help neighbours to do the same.

Chinese PhDs and MBAs give up city life for farming, driven by desire to improve agriculture and livelihoods