[UPDATE: 11/15] Unfortunately, this story is false.
Fresh off another record-breaking Singles Day shopping bonanza, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma is planning to take some of that money and use it, not for himself, but for someone who looks exactly like him.
8-year-old Fan Xiaoqin gained internet fame last year for looking uncannily like Jack Ma. Of course, Fan himself had never heard of the billionaire business magnate. He had bigger things to worry about living in poverty in Jiangxi’s Yongfeng county. His mother is sick, his father is missing a leg and his grandmother has developed Alzheimer’s.
Even with the biggest shopping day of the year on the minds of most, some netizens saved a bit of room in their heart for “mini Ma,” posting pictures and videos of the boy, urging the Alibaba founder to help his doppelganger out.
When Ma saw images of the kid, even he was startled by the striking resemblance. “The first time I saw this boy, I thought my family had uploaded my childhood picture,” Ma wrote.
Seriously, here’s one of Jack Ma’s childhood pictures:
Anyway, this year, the campaign worked like a charm with Ma announcing that he would provide financial support to Fan until the graduates from university. Maybe Fan will actually get into Harvard?
Who says looks don’t matter in life?
In a statement online, Ma added that, “This is not a joke, it’s a heavy reality.” While China may be becoming richer overall, the wealth gap between urban and rural remains staggering. In order to make enough money, millions of Chinese parents have been forced to abandon their kids to find work in the cities. Last week, a new survey found that there are 9 million “left-behind children” living in rural China.
[Images via Weibo / People’s Daily]