Q & A with Fifi Kao, Editor-in-Chief of SpaChina Magazine

Meet the organized, super-smart, fluent in Mandarin and English (and probably a few more), and multi-talented Fifi Kao, champion of the Chinese spa industry.

How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?

I have now worked as editor of SpaChina Magazine for 6 years.  We provide healthy living and wellness information to consumer readers, and we facilitate information sharing for industry readers.  I feel I am standing right between the line of the spa industry and consumers, like a bridge or a link between the two, and I really enjoy that role, to see the wants and needs for both sides.

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

I have a lot of interests that are related to wellness and self-improvement, such as studying Traditional Chinese Medicine, and practicing Tai Chi (I won the 3rd and 2nd prizes of Tai Chi movement and sword at the Hong Kong Wushu Festivals in 2008 and 2009, respectively).  I am an international nutrition consultant with IARI (International Accreditation and Registration Institute), and I am also a tea lover and know about different kinds of Chinese tea.  I have been interviewed by the Chinese versions of SHAPE and LOHAS magazines about my lifestyle and Tai Chi experience, and represented China at the 2009 Global Spa Summit and spoke on health and spa trends in China.

I was a graphic designer for 5 years before I became the SpaChina editor, and studied psychology in college.  By working as an editor, I started to learn about spas and the spa industry, and also got to know people who are actively working in this industry, and then became one of them.

SpaChina Magazine is an ideal platform to educate the Chinese spa market, sharing the latest trends, knowledge and information, investigating and analyzing the industry in China.  Six years after being founded, SpaChina Magazine is the only bilingual wellness and luxury lifestyle magazine in China for the spa industry.  The magazine has organized the biggest spa summit in China annually since 2008, gathering attendees from all over China.  I am happy because I am actively involved with the growth of the spa industry in China.

What is your favorite place in the whole world?

Lots of places!  I am a mountain person, and enjoy different experiences at different mountains, such as:

  • The great tea mountain Jin Mai Shan in Yuannan province in China, with old Pu'er tea trees, local residence villages and lots of lovely insects.

  • The Emei Mountain in Sichuan province, where you can stay in the temple with monks and nuns.

  • A hot spring resort in Japan in the snowing mountains, while drinking a cup of sake.

Also, I love the Victoria's Secret flagship in New York, and to be home on my sofa eating Chinese congee.

If you could have any profession in the world, other than what you do now, what would you be?

So hard to choose!

  • A tea dealer; have my own tea shops with vegetarian food.

  • A travel writer creating books about all of the mountains in China.

  • A Tai Chi teacher who also teachers Pilates.

  • A TCM doctor.

  • A dog trainer.

  • A legal medical expert (too much CSI and Dexter . . .)

I think I may be able to make one of these professions come true in the future.

What is your motto or concept that you live by?

Ji Bu Yu Wu Shi Wei Ren - The things that you don't want, also never give to others.  This was written by Confucius, and refers to the ethic of reciprocity, treating others as you would like to be treated.

What is your most treasured possession?

My brain, my family, and my house that is only 20km from the famous Yellow Mountain in Anhui province.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

Right now, pregnancy massage.  :-)

What is your proudest accomplishment?

The character of O blood type + Libra horoscope . . . positive thinking and hard working.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I like myself now . . . maybe 3cm taller?

Care to share any details on family life, i.e. spouse, partner, children, pets?

Family is the root, the base and the forever support in Chinese tradition.  I can't live with my parents, but that doesn't mean I don't love them.  When we fight, it's only for a few hours and then we make up.  We now have 2 dogs, 4 turtles and some fish, who all live with my parents.  I am living with my husband and will soon have my own child.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I am a 2-days-per-month vegetarian, on day 1 and day 15 of the Chinese moon calendar, to respect the Buddhist tradition and for detoxing.

I love colorful larvae of insects and most women think that's lousy.