‘Down-to-earth’ Chinese tycoon Ren Zhengfei becomes internet sensation as photo of him queuing for taxi goes viral on social media

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 April, 2016, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 April, 2016, 2:25pm

A photograph showing the founder of one of China’s biggest technology companies waiting in line for a taxi has been shared thousands of times on the nation’s social media.

Many internet users expressed their approval of the image, which they said showed the down-to-earth nature of tycoon Ren Zhengfei, chief executive of Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s largest suppliers of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones.

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Ren, 72, who is well-known for his low-profile nature, hit the headlines and became a internet sensation after the photograph showing him queueing for a taxi outside Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport went viral at the weekend.

Ren can be seen talking on his mobile phone while standing with his luggage in an outdoor waiting area close to yellow taxis.

The photo was uploaded onto the weibo microblogging website by an internet start-up founder Chen Xueping.

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Chen, founder of the management consulting company, Zhiuiyun, wrote in his weibo post on Saturday: “A friend of mine took a picture of a man who looked like Ren Zhengfei lining up for taxi yesterday at the Hongqiao Airport.

“At first glance I was able to identify that it was Ren. This 72-year-old founder of Huawei was queueing for a taxi, without any assistant or chauffeur waiting to help him.”

Another photograph taken of Ren in February, as he rode on an airport shuttle bus, was also widely shared on mainland social media at the time.

Most of the comments posted on social media about the latest photograph of him were favourable.

“As a boss, he is acting as a good role model for his firm’s employees,” said one blogger, whose comment was one of the most “liked” on Tencent’s news portal.

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“In contrast, many senior executives of state-owned enterprises are doing the opposite thing, which has led to a vast waste of resources, and subsequently a bad corporate performance.”

Some other comments also expressed concern about for the technology tycoon’s safety.

“Ren is very rich,” wrote a user with the name, Starting to change. “Isn’t he afraid of being kidnapped by walking on the street alone?”