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SBD Global/June 26, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Yao Ming Has Ventured Beyond His Basketball Days As A Businessman

Yao Ming, of China, has found financial success since retiring from the NBA.
Chinese native and former NBA Houston Rockets player Yao Ming has reportedly amassed a more than $150M fortune in salary and endorsement deals and is "reinventing himself in China as a venture capitalist, philanthropist, vintner and student," according to JP Mangalindan of FORTUNE MAGAZINE. Thus far, his current ventures are "proving more challenging, and far less lucrative" than his sports career. Yao has pumped his own money into various businesses. He put nearly $6M into Top100.cn, an ad-supported digital-music partnership between Beijing-based Orca Digital and Google, which has struggled to compete with pirated online music services. Yao also purchased the Chinese Basketball Association Shanghai Sharks, for whom he used to play, with its annual operational cost at more than $3.1M. Yao "declined to comment extensively on his tech or sports investments," but he did elaborate on Yao Family Wines, a winery in Napa Valley, California. Yao is "planning an expansion." The company is aiming to "buy its own land in the coming years," while its wines are already available in Hong Kong and "should hit the U.S. shelves this fall." Yao is the principal owner, and would not say how much he has invested, but experts say a new winery usually requires $2M-$5M in capital upfront (FORTUNE MAGAZINE, 7/12 issue).
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