Tibetan Man's Sweet Smile Captures Netizen's Hearts and Drives Hotel Bookings

By Rakini Bergundy, December 1, 2020

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A young 20-year-old with a bright smile from Litang county in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province has become the Chinese internet’s newest boyfriend. 

A photographer first posted a video of Tashi Dingzhen on Douyin sporting a traditional Tibetan costume which quickly gained views in early November. Dingzhen then followed up with his own short video, where he introduces his white horse in Mandarin (his second language), which quickly went viral. Tashi Dingzhen means ‘auspicious pearl’ in Tibetan.

Check out Dingzhen in the video below (VPN off):

Since the release of these videos, Tashi has been heavily trending on Weibo. This past Sunday afternoon, hashtags like ‘Tibetan men are so handsome’ and ‘Tashi’s livestream’ were viewed more than 600 million times. 

On a livestream, he told viewers one of his greatest wishes “is for his pony to win an upcoming horse race,” as reported by Global Times

In the middle of November, Tashi signed a contract with a local state-owned tourism company to help promote tourism in his hometown, all for a monthly salary of RMB3,500. The company also will provide a housing fund and teachers for Tashi to learn Mandarin. Litang county was officially “lifted from poverty” earlier this February, as announced by the Sichuan government. 

There was news, of course, of large entertainment companies including Tencent, which rushed to capitalize on this new wanghong. However, netizens were quick to protect Tashi – noting that his innocence and ‘purity’ are what make him so endearing. On November 29, it was confirmed by the tourism company that invitations to talent and variety shows were rejected. 

After official promotional tourism videos were released, hotel bookings for Garze had increased by 89% compared to the same period last year. (We can attest, after taking a road trip during Golden Week that Litang has stunning landscapes and is worth the long car rides.) 

November is normally offseason, however “booking for flights to Kangding, Garze’s capital and Yading, a famous nature reserve in Garze, doubled between November 16-25 compared to the same period last year.”

Ride on, Tashi. 

[Cover image via @紧急呼叫/Weibo]

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