Huawei 'princess' sees her music debut backfire

Annabel Yao, Huawei "princess", released her first single "Backfire" on Monday but her showbiz debut quickly backfired amid criticism over lack of talent and privileged background.

Annabel Yao, the youngest daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, on Monday released her first single “Backfire” but her showbiz debut quickly backfired amid criticism over lack of talent and privileged background.

The 23-year-old dropped her song days after a self-promotional documentary announced her foray into the entertainment industry. The 17-minute film was released last week by Beijing TH Entertainment Co, the label that signed her, and has been met with ridicule and scorn online with many saying that Yao’s showbiz endeavor has only been made possible because of her family’s wealth.

The documentary presents the aspiring star as a “rule-breaking princess” and royalty is a common thread in the singer’s publicity materials and her debut single. In a poster that accompanied the track, Yao is photographed seated with a crown under one foot, while one line in the lyrics says “Such a princess, don’t make me man up.”

But Yao insists that her wealth hasn’t made her life easier than others.

“I never saw myself as a princess,” she said in the documentary, which shows her preparations ahead of the debut and touches on her childhood and family life.

“Just like most people my age, I needed to put a lot of effort into studying to get into a good school. Yao attended Harvard University and has a degree in computer science.

“I also felt lost after college, but I kept trying different things before I found what I was passionate about.”

The song debuted to mixed reactions. It amassed more than 130,000 likes since Monday. But it also drew criticism, with many saying she lacks voice and moves.

“Her singing and dancing abilities are not enough to make her a star,” said one Weibo user.

“Based on your talent, was it possible for you to become an artist without your family background?” asked another.

“China is a socialist country led by the working class based on an alliance of workers and farmers. There are no princesses,” a third stated.

Others however expressed opposition to attempts to discredit Yao because of her family’s fortune and pointed out that many big names in the entertainment industry rely on strong family support.

Yao is Ren’s daughter from his second marriage, and her stepping into the spotlight comes at a time when her half-sister and Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is under house arrest in Canada in an extradition case that has been underway since 2018.

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