"He’s everybody’s hope."
People in China have a new obsession: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, The New York Times reports.
From tech entrepreneurs to anybody riled up to fight the establishment, the billionaire has gained massive appeal.
"He can fight the establishment and become the richest man on Earth — and avoid getting beaten down in the process," Jane Zhang, founder of a Shanghai-based blockchain company, told the newspaper. "He’s everybody’s hope."
Silicon Valley Iron Man
Chinese social networks are flush with mentions of the billionaire, referring to him as the "Silicon Valley Iron Man," "King of Mars," and "Rocket Man," according to the Times.
Many in China also jumped on board buying shares of GameStop, an action lauded by Musk.
To them, Musk embodies an industry unbounded by regulation and middlemen.
"China doesn’t have Silicon Valley madmen anymore," Suji Yan, an entrepreneur and investor in Shanghai, told NYT. Higher ups in the tech industry "have all become cardboard cutouts."
Musk's electric car company has also made major headway in entering the Chinese market, with sales more than doubling in 2020 alone in the country.
But not everybody is head over heels. Tech commentator Hong Bo called him out as a "coldblooded, self-absorbed megalomaniac" — as well as a "real dreamer" — who tramples "on the bottom lines of humanity."
In a way, this all sounds strangely familiar. There are many sides to Musk, just as there are many sides to those who celebrate or despise him — and that's as true in China as it is in the United States.
READ MORE: China’s Jaded Techies Find a Hero in Elon Musk [The New York Times]
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