• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:02am

Peng Liyuan

Peng Liyuan is a popular Chinese folk music and opera singer and the wife of Chinese president, Xi Jinping. A native of Yuncheng County, Shandong, Peng was a finalist at the First National TV Chinese Vocal Contest and is best known for works including People from Our Village and On the Plains of Hope.

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Peng Liyuan

'Nubia', not iPhone, is Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan’s latest choice of smart phone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 5:35pm
 

Ever since Peng Liyuan dazzled the public on her first official appearance as China’s first lady a year ago, the former military singer's every movement, speech and choice of apparel has been closely watched by fans as well as analysts.

And the latest social media craze about Peng among China’s online community is, “what cellphone is she using?”

On Saturday, a picture of Peng snapping photos with a white mobile phone emerged on the internet, prompting curious internet users to speculate over exactly what brand the first lady favoured.

A smiling Peng was seen sitting between her husband Xi Jiping and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, raising a white smart phone to take pictures of a friendly match between German and Chinese youth soccer teams in Berlin, during the couple's state visit to Germany. 

Although only the back of the smartphone and no logo was visible in the photo, gadget-savvy web users soon discovered that Peng's phone was a Nubia Z5 mini, a one-year-old model made by Chinese firm ZTE, the world’s seventh-biggest smartphone maker.

The budget smartphone retails between 1,499 yuan and 1,888 yuan (US$241-304), but is no longer available on Nubia’s official website as it has been replaced by newer versions.

Peng’s new handset choice, a far cry from the iPhone 5 she was pictured using on her US trip last June, drew applause from many Chinese netizens who saw it as a demonstration of the first lady's support for domestically manufactured products. Many Nubia fans wrote on social media that they were delighted to discover the first lady shared the same taste with them. 

In addition, the companies concerned have been quick to bank on the revelation as a marketing windfall. The official Weibo social media account of the brand Nubia on Saturday night reposted the photo of Peng holding the phone, and added the comment: “the Chinese dream starts from Chinese-made,” a reference to Peng’s husband President Xi Jinping’s iconic political slogan.

It also added a tag referring to the handset as the “cellphone [used by] the mother of the nation,” playing on a popular nickname for the first lady.

And the microblog of JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce website and Nubia’s exclusive distributor, commented: “Recording the Chinese dream, using a JD phone … the flagship cellphone is Only Available on JD.com.”

But a number of online users did not find the 'patriotic' narrative quite so plausible.

“Isn’t the [cellphone’s] operating system still Google’s Android?” one blogger observed in a comment echoed by a number of others. Some others questioned the appropriateness of the brand name, which sounds very much like “niubi” – a somewhat vulgar slang term meaning “badass” or “kickass”.

Peng earlier won praise from mainland internet users and fashion experts when she sported outfits designed by the Chinese fashion icon Wuyong, as many fashion critics called the brand choice “elegant,” “dignified,” and “falling in line with her identity”.

The latest online frenzy surrounding Peng has also prompted a number of businessmen to try to promote copies of everything Peng wore from coats to handbags on Taobao, a major online shopping website in the mainland.

The 51-year-old Peng is among China’s most famous folksong singers working for the People's Liberation Armyand, and used to hold a non-combat rank equivalent to that of a major general. Her successful singing career made her a household name in the 1980s, years before her husband emerged as a rising political star. 

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This article is now closed to comments

guy.pant
Doubt it. Logo design looks different not to mention the OS and distinguishable look from Nokia, which was the last thing on my mind.
daily
A classy lady.........probably the classiest first lady I've seen around for a long time.
zvichadashote
Could "Nubia" be an attempt to sound like "Nokia"? Well it wouldn't be the first time something was copied in China...
mdap
OH AND WE ARE MEANT TO BELIEVE THE USA IS THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING! GOD BLESS AMERICA AND QUICKLY RECALL ALL YOUR AMERICAN CHILDREN TO THE FOLD; THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE SANS USA...
hlcheng@me.com
Only when the Chinese invent their own OS other than borrowing from Android would I pay respect to Nubia or Pengnubia or whatever.
CatherineOhlLaw
But clearly borrowed for the anticipated media coverage of the occasion since she didn't have it 6 months ago and this model been since discontinued... or maybe an April Fool's ?
xgambit
Chinese like to copy. Now we have Chinese First Lady. What's next ?
ohyeahar
What’s next? An article about what apps she has installed on her phone and how each app relates to the her alleged view of the “Chinese dream”?

“She disabled Google Search in favor of Baidu. That means she’s patriotic!”
“She uses Facebook! Off with her head!”

Oh puh-leeeeease
lucifer
What are the chances that she picked a phone made by a PLA connected telecom firm? I wonder how much she was paid for such great product placement?

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