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

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.

6 hours ago
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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 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.

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
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.
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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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.

Why Indian films like Dangal and Toilet are so popular in China: similar problems

Indian director R. Balki says recent successes are because Indian and Chinese cultures, especially their conservative rural values, can be very similar, with ‘Dangal’ especially sparking a wave of Indian-movie fever.

11 Dec 2018 - 7:23PM
Why Indian films like Dangal and Toilet are so popular in China: similar problems

Indian director R. Balki says recent successes are because Indian and Chinese cultures, especially their conservative rural values, can be very similar, with ‘Dangal’ especially sparking a wave of Indian-movie fever.

Crazy Rich Asians flops in China on its belated debut, with film fans calling it bland

Romantic comedy that was a worldwide summer hit took less than US$1 million on its opening weekend in Chinese cinemas.

4 Dec 2018 - 3:27PM
Crazy Rich Asians flops in China on its belated debut, with film fans calling it bland

Romantic comedy that was a worldwide summer hit took less than US$1 million on its opening weekend in Chinese cinemas.

China’s ‘father of fashion’ on Pierre Cardin, Chinese supermodels and bringing Chinese brands to the world

Fashion show director Jerry Zhang fell in love with the business in the early 1980s. He started China’s first modelling agency and has launched a number of Chinese brands overseas.

3 Dec 2018 - 7:22PM
China’s ‘father of fashion’ on Pierre Cardin, Chinese supermodels and bringing Chinese brands to the world

Fashion show director Jerry Zhang fell in love with the business in the early 1980s. He started China’s first modelling agency and has launched a number of Chinese brands overseas.

IVF for career women: 'social' egg freezing, China’s fertility TV channel and a baby-making reality show

'Social' egg freezing allows women to harvest eggs when they are most fertile and store them for longer and more cheaply. Doctor behind the programme says by the time most women turn to IVF in their 30s the quality of their eggs is declining.

3 Dec 2018 - 7:06PM
IVF for career women: 'social' egg freezing, China’s fertility TV channel and a baby-making reality show

'Social' egg freezing allows women to harvest eggs when they are most fertile and store them for longer and more cheaply. Doctor behind the programme says by the time most women turn to IVF in their 30s the quality of their eggs is declining.

Novice filmmakers in rural China depict their lives thanks to course on documentary making

A former Buddhist monk has made films about the many uses to which nomads put yak dung, and the ecological value of the pika, an animal on the Tibet Plateau. He is one of the beneficiaries of a programme to teach villagers how to make films.

25 Nov 2018 - 7:52PM
Novice filmmakers in rural China depict their lives thanks to course on documentary making

A former Buddhist monk has made films about the many uses to which nomads put yak dung, and the ecological value of the pika, an animal on the Tibet Plateau. He is one of the beneficiaries of a programme to teach villagers how to make films.

The best Peking duck in Beijing: five restaurants that roast to perfection

There is no shortage of restaurants serving the classic imperial dish in China’s capital. Here are our favourite five places, which all serve delicious duck with crisp skin and tender meat.

22 Nov 2018 - 8:32PM
The best Peking duck in Beijing: five restaurants that roast to perfection

There is no shortage of restaurants serving the classic imperial dish in China’s capital. Here are our favourite five places, which all serve delicious duck with crisp skin and tender meat.

Home-grown Chinese hotel brand NUO wants to take over the world

With its first hotel opening in Beijing in 2015, NUO plans to expand to cities from New York to Kuala Lumpur over the next 15 years, providing a home away from home for Chinese travellers.

21 Nov 2018 - 7:47AM
Home-grown Chinese hotel brand NUO wants to take over the world

With its first hotel opening in Beijing in 2015, NUO plans to expand to cities from New York to Kuala Lumpur over the next 15 years, providing a home away from home for Chinese travellers.

Controversial adverts: racism, sexism, abusive relationships and disrespect towards chickens

Insensitive and offensive adverts attract huge numbers of complaints, both online and in the media. Advertisers say they are easy targets and people will complain about anything.

20 Nov 2018 - 6:49PM
Controversial adverts: racism, sexism, abusive relationships and disrespect towards chickens

Insensitive and offensive adverts attract huge numbers of complaints, both online and in the media. Advertisers say they are easy targets and people will complain about anything.

Donnie Yen makes legal strike against makers of terrible Iceman film

Reputation of the action superstar ‘severely harmed’ by a blog post accusing Yen of ruining new film Iceman: The Time Traveler, a letter from Yen’s legal team says.

17 Nov 2018 - 5:25AM
Donnie Yen makes legal strike against makers of terrible Iceman film

Reputation of the action superstar ‘severely harmed’ by a blog post accusing Yen of ruining new film Iceman: The Time Traveler, a letter from Yen’s legal team says.

Chinese media firms invest heavily in documentaries and raise production standards

A new crop of high-quality original documentaries made in China has won praise and enlightened audiences at home and abroad. Streaming giants iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video have invested heavily in higher production values.

15 Nov 2018 - 7:08AM
Chinese media firms invest heavily in documentaries and raise production standards

A new crop of high-quality original documentaries made in China has won praise and enlightened audiences at home and abroad. Streaming giants iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video have invested heavily in higher production values.

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Harvey Weinstein accuser, on her Philippine #MeToo campaign

Filipino-Italian model Gutierrez talks about the backlash she faced after accusing Weinstein of sexual misconduct, how it forced her to move to the Philippines and why she wants to spread #MeToo message there.

7 Nov 2018 - 6:51PM
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Harvey Weinstein accuser, on her Philippine #MeToo campaign

Filipino-Italian model Gutierrez talks about the backlash she faced after accusing Weinstein of sexual misconduct, how it forced her to move to the Philippines and why she wants to spread #MeToo message there.

5 of the best and scariest Chinese horror films to watch

China’s censors have long made a mockery of the country’s horror genre, toning down monsters and forcing laughably bad plots. But these five gems slipped the net and really show the macabre creativity of Chinese directors.

1 Nov 2018 - 4:42PM
5 of the best and scariest Chinese horror films to watch

China’s censors have long made a mockery of the country’s horror genre, toning down monsters and forcing laughably bad plots. But these five gems slipped the net and really show the macabre creativity of Chinese directors.

LifestyleCulture