Although Facebook is banned in China, it didn't stop Mark from his exciting vacation with Priscilla to the Apple store.
The moment Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was spotted on the streets of Shanghai, young and wired Chinese began to seethe with excitement, totally oblivious to the fact that the world’s largest social network is totally off limits to the world’s most populous country.
On March 28, a reporter with Dongfang Daily stumbled across Zuckerberg near Shanghai’s Fuxing Road and Xintiandi area. Zuckerberg was wearing a hoodie and jeans. His long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan, wearing sunglasses, walked beside him. Every now and then, Chan swiped her hand across an iPad screen, probably consulting the map.
The reporter, who snapped several photos of the duo, noticed that a few passersby also recognized Zuckerberg. Some took out their smartphones and aimed at the pair. Some walked toward them and tried to chat them up. But the uncannily enthusiastic passersby were soon stopped and driven away by Zuckerberg’s six bodyguards.
What surprises Chinese more is that later, Zuckerberg even went into an Apple store on Nanjing Road, a main shopping street in Shanghai, and lingered there for about 10 minutes. The news was later confirmed by the Apple store, which claimed that Zuckerberg came in unannounced. Witnesses said that “He touched everything in the store, from iPhone to iPad. He talked with much interest, and even peered at other customers in the store for a while.”
According to various pictures uploaded by different witnesses, Zuckerberg visited Tianzifang – an arts and crafts enclave, Xintiandi – a high-end shopping, dining and entertainment district, and Nanjing Road. Many commented that “He looked as low-profile as a high school boy.”
Netizens are quick to connect the dots – between Zuckerberg accidentally spotted in Shanghai and Apple CEO Tim Cook visiting Beijing. A collage of photos lists even two more IT gurus – Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Cisco CEO John Chambers – and pointed out the interesting fact that the executives helming four of the world’s internet giants all showed up in China in the same week, which suggests the strategic importance of the Chinese market. Sina News blogged with a wry sense of humor, “Is it because the ark is in Tibet,” echoing the Chinese imagination wildly circulating on the Internet about the refuge from the end of the world in year 2012, which came from the Hollywood blockbuster. In the movie, Chinese people built a Noah’s Ark in Tibet, and only paramount government leaders and rich people in the world can board.
However, some netizen drew the line between Tim Cook, who was in a whirlwind of business meetings and visits with Chinese officials, and Mark Zuckerberg, who simply stopped in China to smell the flowers before heading to Japan.
Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg’s Chinese American girlfriend who is seen by Chinese as the luckiest woman sleeping on billion dollars, inevitably becomes the subject of the gossip column. Nanjing, capital city of East China’s Jiangsu province, immediately claims to be Chan’s ancestral home and gave Chan a good-natured nickname “Little Chubby Girl from Nanjing”. Yangtse Evening Post, a Nanjing-based serious newspaper with a circulation of 2.2 million, smelt of a tabloid when it gushed about the passionate love between the two. Below is a page from Yangtse Evening Post.
Netizens, in contrast, almost unanimously tut-tutted and frowned upon Chan before they gave Zuckerberg a smack in the eye over his choice of partner.
Translated selection of comments from NetEase:
中石油CEO [网易山西省朔州市网友]：2012-03-28 10:51:13 发表
His girlfriend looks and dresses rather plainly…Look at the dress, and the glasses…Why they seem cheap buys on the street to me?…Okay, maybe what exists between them is true love, and I am too much of an idiot (to understand). 2B
拆迁队陆政委 [网易亚太地区网友]：2012-03-28 10:56:50 发表
At any rate, he is already a billionaire. He has a house, a car; he is pretty young, and looks not bad…This girlfriend of his is so plain! Why not just come directly to the land of China, where nerdy indoorsy girls can line up from Heilongjiang (in the northeast) to Yunnan (in the southwest)?!! (The distance equivalent to that between Maine and Texas)
q4625620 [网易北京市网友]：2012-03-29 08:42:27 发表
Editor, perhaps that woman is just an interpreter.
黄易试用工 [网易浙江省杭州市网友]：2012-03-28 11:01:56 发表
I admire Zuckerberg, who is honest and pristine, and does not jilt the woman who shared his hard lot despite having billion dollars!
各种重复重复 [网易山东省淄博市网友]：2012-03-28 11:06:00 发表
Oh, my. Look at those two sexy, fat legs. Billionaires do have a unique taste.
网易上海市网友 ip：180.175.*.*2012-03-28 11:00:04 发表
Chinese beauties look ugly in foreigners’ eyes, and ugly Chinese girls look pretty.
网易日本网友 [让一部分人富起来欺负穷人] 的原贴：2
No wonder Sister Feng has gone to America!
黄易编外人员 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]：2012-03-28 10:56:38 发表
Good. This young man looks so damn handsome.
网易上海市网友 ip：180.175.*.*2012-03-29 09:11:22 发表
Foreigners’ taste is really different, which is really heavy.