Chinese TV star Wen Zhang was caught by paparazzi having an affair with his co-star Yao Di. He wrote an apology to his wife on China’s microblogging version of Twitter, Weibo — the Chinese word for “microblog.” (It’s used by more than 30 percent of Internet users.) The message was shared 1.25 million times, and generated almost 2 million comments. Zhang’s wife, Ma Yili responded online (translated): “Being in love is easy, being married is not. It is to be cherished.” Her message prompted more than 1 million comments, too.
Later, Wen Zhang wrote to the two reporters who exposed his affair: “You both have children. When will you stop? If you want to play, play with me alone and don’t involve others.” Either the Chinese truly don’t understand privacy–he apologized on Chinese Twitter?–or the marketing super genius at Alibaba, Jack Ma, is working his magic to get these unfamiliar names in front of an American audience. The timing, anyway, is auspicious: Weibo is currently preparing for a US IPO (selling $500 million of stock in the US), just like China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which owns a 18 percent stake in Weibo.