Lagarde's Weibo posts lure thousands

Updated: 2011-11-09 08:05

By Gao Changxin (China Daily)

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IMF chief signs up to Chinese micro-blogging platform

SHANGHAI - International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has opened an account on Weibo, China's most popular micro-blogging platform, ahead of her visit to the country on Wednesday.

Lagarde's move comes as the domestic popularity of the Chinese version of Twitter has mushroomed in recent years, and is expected to help the newly elected IMF chief gain grassroots support in a country whose ample cash can help solve the ongoing European debt crisis.

"Hello Sina Weibo, looking forward to sharing updates here," said Lagarde in her first message on Monday.

Lagarde's account, which Weibo verified as genuine, has received an enthusiastic response.

By 4 pm on Tuesday, Lagarde had attracted about 34,000 followers. Her first message has been reposted over 1,400 times and drew around 800 comments.

"Congrats! U carry yourself so well - full of confidence, grace and elegance; that's why I'm on ur fan list," a user commented in English.

Another user said: "Welcome. I think this is a good place for you to know China better, also a good place for us to know you better."

The former French finance minister has chosen Russia, China and Japan as her first destinations outside the European Union since taking office in July.

Lagarde is due to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday, where she will deliver a speech at the International Finance Forum, created by the Chinese government, the United Nations and private financial institutions to promote global sustainable development.

Lagarde is not the first foreign heavyweight to use Weibo. US movie star Tom Cruise and tycoon Bill Gates have registered on the site. About 2.1 million users have followed Gates since his Weibo debut in September 2010.

By the end of June, more than 40 percent of the country's 485 million netizens had used the service, according to a recent report published by China Internet Network Information Center. Weibo's registered users had topped 200 million by the end of July.

China Daily