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Eight-year-old boy resembling Alibaba's Jack Ma becomes online sensation in China

Rumours Had Been Swirling On Social Media That The Billionaire Had Promised To Fund His Education, Right Through To University. The Boy's Family, Who Live In Jiangxi Province, Are Poor And Rely On Government Benefits.

PTI | Updated on: 28 Nov 2016, 08:25:43 AM
Alibaba's Jack Ma in his childhood (top), 'Mini Ma' Fan Xiaoqin (bottom left & right) (source: China Xinhua News)


An eight-year-old boy in east China is getting visitors from across the country as he looks likeChinese billionaire Jack Ma, according to a media report.

Up to 50 people, a day has visited Fan Xiaoqin over the past two weeks. The boy looks remarkably like one of China's richest men, Jack Ma who founded the e-commerce companyAlibaba, the BBC reported.

Rumours had been swirling on social media that the billionaire had promised to fund his education, right through to university. The boy's family, who live in Jiangxi province, are poor and rely on government benefits.

Xiaoqin's father Fan Jiafa is disabled - his right leg has been amputated - his mother has had polio, and his grandmother, who is in her 80s has Alzheimer's. When journalists asked Alibaba if there was any truth to the gossip, they were told it was unfounded.

The company issued a statement on Weibo: "All the news about Mini Jack Ma shouldn't be treated as a joke. To fund one child education is easy, but in order to help millions of poor children, more resources need to be used." That hasn't dampened the public's interest, though.

"MiniJack Ma" as he is now known, first became an online sensation in 2015 then faded from public view, but with this month's new and unfounded rumours, people started contacting and visiting the family offering Xiaoqin starring roles in films and adverts.

"It's a good thing that my son looks like Jack Ma," FanJiafa told BBC Trending, but he has reservations about some of the offers they've received. "I don't want him to go into the film industry and make money now. I hope Xiaoqin can be independent one day and support himself but I believe only education can improve his life."At the moment, Xiaoqin is struggling to keep up in school and can't write. "I just hope Xiaoqin can receive a good education," says his dad.

"I don't read and write much as I just spent two years in primary school. I think studying the most important thing." And the family has had plenty of moral support on social media. "How depressing! Some people are really opportunistic!"commented one angry Weibo user.

Xiaoqin's father says he doesn't know who to trust and is worried about sending his sons away. Over the past 10 days,he's received more than 10,000 yuan (USD 1,500) in cash donations, clothes, food and household items. What he wants now is for "the local government to help me and offer me some advice," the report added.

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First Published : 28 Nov 2016, 08:12:00 AM

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Alibaba Jack Ma Mini Ma China