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Gates opens up to fans on WeChat

Editor: zhangrui 丨Chinadaily

02-15-2017 07:12 BJT

Fake Bill Gates accounts better watch out because the man himself has officially registered his personal public account on WeChat. In his first post on the social networking app, the American billionaire and philanthropist said hello in Chinese and said he would "share about the people I meet, books I'm reading and what I'm learning".

The 30-second video, posted on Feb 11, has already been viewed more than 100,000 times and received over 10,000 likes.

Sources close to Gates, have verfied the account which is operated by the former Microsoft founder's own team. He plans to share content including global health, energy innovation and education reform through the account.

Gates' decision to join China's content market is no doubt a blow for the many accounts purporting to spread success articles in his name. The world's richest man has long been an idol in China. His anecdotes and quotations, too numerous to distinguish what's real and fake, never lost their appeal to Chinese readers over the past two decades.

Founding software company Microsoft in 1975 and making it the most successful technology brand over the following decades, Gates frequently dominated the top spot of Forbes world's wealthiest people. After retiring from Microsoft in 2008, he focused on managing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chaired with his wife, and announced that he would donate his $58 billion personal fortune to the foundation.

The tycoon's legendary life has won him millions of Chinese fans and anything he says is regarded as a classic, making him a valuable addition to China's rising content industry. Opening a social media account in China shows that the business mogul attaches importance to the nation's content market.

There were reports that Gates was very impressed with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's fluent Chinese while delivering a lecture at Tsinghua University and he showed great interest in learning it.

China is also one of the areas of most concern to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which has an office in Beijing.

Why WeChat?

Unlike other big names such as former British PM David Cameron, Indian PM Narendra Modi and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who chose Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, Gates left many wondering why he give priority to WeChat.

Last year, the launch of Hawking's Weibo account became an instant hit online, garnering over a million followers within six hours. Women, youngsters and the well-educated account for the major followers. Ironically, in a gossip-feeding network like Weibo, the followers didn't seem to take Hawking seriously as a scientist. For them, it's just another trend to follow.

Compared with Weibo, public WeChat accounts have more control in attracting their most valuable audience by providing targeted content. With Gates himself in charge of the content producing process, the public account is expected to play an active role in maintaining his personal image and reshaping China's content market.

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