Two of the most popular names searched for in China’s cyberspace at the moment are Wang Sicong, the 27 year-old only son of one of China’s richest men Wang Jianlin, and the Cupertino-based tech colossus Apple. Combine these two icons, add a cute dog to the mix, and you have an internet frenzy.
Wang junior’s pet dog, named Keke Wang, is an online celebrity in her own right. The husky has her own weibo (maintained by her owner) with more than 800,000 fans. She drinks bottled water from Fiji and has previously worn a Fendi designer bag around her neck.
The dog was in the spotlight again last month, as Wang Sicong posted photos of his pet wearing two Apple watches on its two front legs. The caption reads: “I got new watches again! I should have worn four of them on my four long legs, but that is too tuhao [vulgar rich], and finally I decided to wear two, which is really my bottom line, because less than two does not match my identity. Do you guys have any?”
In a society where income inequality is widening, the last question on whether readers owned a gold Apple watch (which costs about $20,000 in China) looked to have sparked the most hackles. “My life is poorer than a dog,” wrote one commentator. Another regular refrain among Wang’s embittered readers: that they can’t even afford one of the less expensive Apple Watches.
As debates on Wang junior’s latest weibo stunt heated up, even Xinhua joined the discussion, saying the young man has “breached the bottom line of morals”.
Wang Sicong’s own weibo has over 13 million followers and he is no stranger to controversy, upsetting many onlookers with comments he made at a charity auction on Valentine’s Day when he said his main criterion when choosing a girlfriend was that she should be “busty”.
That said, he seems impervious to criticisms that he’s a privileged, showy princeling. He has expressed no interest in succeeding his father at the helm of Dalian Wanda, the biggest commercial landlord in the country. Instead, he prefers the entertainment and media industry. He is also the chairman of a private equity firm while he also runs an online gaming company.
Wang Jianlin, now 62, was as nonplussed as anyone by his son’s antics.“Perhaps he thinks it was funny, or he was joking. But he has overlooked the fact in this internet age he has been having a bad influence in China. His individuality, I think, is due to two factors: his education in the West [Winchester in the UK], as well as his young age. Nevertheless I still hope that he will become more low key,” Wang senior said in an interview with Beijing News. A few netizens do admire his outspokenness, mind you, and there are some who even wonder if he is not vying to be China’s leading ironist.
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