Special interest in interpreter after power couple's divorce

Top News | AGENCIES 6 May 2021

There's a surge of public interest in the name of Chinese-American "Shelly" Wang Zhe, an interpreter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a day after the billionaire couple announced they were divorcing.

Wang's name is closely associated with Bill Gates in popular online search engines, although it is unclear whether there is any other link between the two, according to an article in Fox Business.

The power pair's divorce did send shockwaves though China, where the Microsoft cofounder has achieved a level of fame unlike almost any other Western entrepreneur, according to CNN.

It said the "Bill Gates' divorce" hashtag had generated more than 830 million views and 66,000 discussion posts on Weibo by yesterday, far surpassing the 91 million views accumulated when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019.

"You and Melinda have made huge contributions to people around the world. Even if you don't hold hands together in future life, I hope your foundation can still continue and help more people," one Weibo user wrote.

Wang has been working for the foundation since March 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. At the same time she also works as an interpreter for other organizations, including Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School. She attended Brigham Young University.

Wang's profile says she first became an interpreter for the Monterey Institute of International Studies in September 2012.

She then joined TED Conferences as an interpreter in April 2013 and oversaw a team that would interpret events into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

Wang's first listed position is owner of Four Seasons Hot Pot & Dumplings from 2006-2008. The restaurant is located in Provo, Utah.

She listed herself as having "native or bilingual proficiency" in Cantonese, Putonghua and English.

And Wang has also been peer-endorsed for teaching piano and choreographing Chinese dance.

Bill Gates, meanwhile, was reportedly allowed by his wife to spend time with an ex-girlfriend, thanks to a built-in arrangement he had prior to their wedding in 1994.

Citing a 1997 Time magazine profile on the Microsoft cofounder, Fox Business reported that the negotiated consideration said he and software entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ann Winblad would be able to jet off on annual weekend getaways with each other to pick each other's brains and bask in the old times they shared while creating new memories of their own.

Bill Gates said at the time that he had actually sought approval from Winblad before he made the plunge and proposed to Melinda Gates.

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