Not Rolex, not Cartier … guess what’s China central bank chief’s watch of choice?

His spiffy timepiece worn during 1.5-hour press conference stirs a flood of comments online

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 2:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 11:14pm

While the 1.5 hour morning press conference by the head of China’s central bank may not have moved the financial markets, his taste for timepieces spurred a flurry of comments on social media.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, sported what looked all the world like an Apple Watch on his wrist while taking journalists’ questions on the sidelines of China’s annual congressional sessions in Beijing.

An Apple China employee posted two photos of Zhou wearing the watch on his WeChat Moments soon after the news conference began.

The yuan’s stable, fintech’s our future and stop overreacting over fall in foreign reserves, says China’s central bank chief

“Apple Watch Nike+, the choice of China’s most ‘reliable’ man – China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan. What are you waiting for?” the employee wrote ion WeChat, China’s largest social media platform with more than 800 million monthly users run, by Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings.

WikiLeaks this week released documents and files said to be from the US Central Intelligence Agency’s Centre for Cyber Intelligence. The group said the CIA had developed ways to hack devices from Apple iPhones to handsets using Google’s Android operating system to Samsung “smart” televisions to monitor conversations and messages.

Apple said many of the security issues identified had already been addressed in the latest version of its iOS operating system and the company said it was committed to safeguarding customer privacy and security.

The Chinese government said last year that it was beefing up cybersecurity, including more security vetting of hardware and telecommunications infrastructure, amid global concern over US surveillance programmes revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Meanwhile, Zhou did not answer questions about his retirement when reporters rushed to him after the press conference. “Are you retired?” “When will you retire?” Similar questions were shouted out loudly by reporters. But Zhou just smiled and refused to answer, saying “I can’t hear clearly”.

China’s leaders still banking on ‘irreplaceable’ central bank chief

Questions about Zhou’s retirement have been raised in recent years. At 69, Zhou has already passed the required retirement age, and speculation continues over his possible successor.

Observers said his long tenure to steer China’s monetary policy may indicate President Xi Jinping’s focus on stability ahead of the top power reshuffle this autumn.

It may also be due to Zhou’s unrivalled capabilities in handling policy as China faces headwinds in the domestic and external financial markets.

Additional reporting by Wendy Wu and Bloomberg