A Hong Kong billionaire has offered a "marriage bounty" of $65 million for a man to marry his daughter. Property developer and shipping magnate Cecil Chao Sze-tsung made the offer after his daughter Gigi Chao reportedly wed her lesbian partner.
The South China Morning Post reports that Cecil Chao, who has never married himself, launched the campaign to find a husband for his 33-year-old Hong Kong socialite daughter Gigi Chao, after she reportedly shocked him with the news that she had completed a civil partnership marriage with her lesbian partner of seven years, Sean Eav, in Paris, France. According to News.com, Gigi announced her marriage to Sean Eav at an event in Beijing, China.
Gigi Chao runs a modelling, public relations and marketing company Haut Monde Talent. CNBC reports that Gigi is also an executive director of Cheuk Nang Holdings, a development company run by her father.
She said her father, Cecil Chao, "loves her very much," and had informed her of the offer before the Chinese media reported it. According to CNN, after the media carried the report that she had married her lesbian partner, Gigi declined to confirm it, saying she was "not in a position to verify that."
Cecil Chao, however, told CNN that reports that his daughter married a lesbian partner are not true. He said: "It's a rumor." However, he confirmed his offer of $65 million for any man who would woo his daughter and marry her. According to Cecil, the suitor could be of any nationality provided he "loves my daughter, and she loves him." BBC reports he said, "It is an inducement to attract someone who has the talent but not the capital to start his own business. I don't mind whether he is rich or poor. The important thing is that he is generous and kind-hearted. Gigi is a very good woman with both talents and looks. She is devoted to her parents, is generous and does volunteer work."
Reacting to the news of her father's "marriage bounty" on her, Gigi said she found her father's proposal "quite entertaining." BBC reports she said she would not worry about her father's offer until a suitor has actually been found. Gigi's response to the question whether she would consider a suitor her father offers was a cryptically non-committal "we will see." New.com, however, reports Gigi said her father has "an interesting interpretation of me. Sometimes people just refuse to accept what they are told. Let time be the witness."
Cecil Chao is evidently in denial about his daughter's lesbian orientation. The Christian Post reports that same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Hong Kong and France allows civil partnerships but not gay marriage
Cecil Chao, however, said he would not force his daughter to marry against her will. CNBC reports that a reader commenting in The South China Morning Post, said: "How humiliating for this poor girl... Mr. Chao needs to come out of denial and just be happy that he has such a beautiful daughter who appears to have found happiness with a partner whom she loves. Congratulations."
Gigi Chao, who has an architecture degree from the University of Manchester in the UK, posted on her Facebook page: "I would like to announce that i suddenly received a whole bunch of followers on my twitter account which i never use." Another post said: "it's also quite scary that my friend requests number keeps jumping up every few seconds." She eventually posted: "No longer accepting facebook friend requests... sorry."
The 76-year-old tycoon has never been married, CNN reports. According to the South China Morning Post, he has the reputation of a "playboy tycoon" and once boasted that he has slept with 10,000 women.
According to NBC News, Gigi is the first of three children that Chao had with different women.