China getting ‘Wise’ with capitalist edge

300 chosen from pool of 10,000 applicants

BEIJING — Capitalism came to China’s small screens this week with the launch of “Wise Man Takes All,” the country’s first reality TV show aimed at promoting young entrepreneurs.

Around 300 would-be Donald Trumps were chosen from 10,000 applicants interviewed in cities all around China.

Just 16 wannabe capitalists feature in the televised knockout stages, competing for $123,000 in startup capital. Contestants are judged on their TV appeal and the viability of their business plans.

China has been opening up its economy and embracing the free market after years of central planning, and the show is the latest sign of entrepreneurial esprit capturing the public imagination.

The main sponsors of “Wise Man Takes All” are the Hong Kong property company Shui on Land, Dragon TV and media group China Business Network.

“We are trying to sharpen the entrepreneurial spirit in young people,” Vincent Lo, chairman of Shui on Land, told the China Daily newspaper.

Despite the show’s nationwide selection process, the best ideas come from the big cities. “Contestants from Shanghai and Beijing have been of a higher standard,” confirmed Yang Jianyun, deputy general manager of Dragon TV and one of the judges.

Reality television is taking off in a big way. Programs like “Super Girl,” a tame version of “American Idol,” are very popular.

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