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People In China Have Come Up With A Batshit Theory That Taylor Swift Is Dating A Chinese Millionaire

This is a wild one.

Posted on April 25, 2017, at 6:59 a.m. ET

There is currently a rumor making the rounds on Chinese social media that Taylor Swift is dating Chinese tech tycoon Charles Zhang, the founder of internet company Sohu.

Mark Davis / Getty Images
Weibo

It all started last week when Wu Xiao-ping, the owner of Chinese tech company Hangzhou Miyun, wrote a post in a forum on Toutiao, a Chinese news app, claiming that "America's number one pop star is dating a middle-aged Chinese tech tycoon."

"Based on reports, America's number one pop star is currently dating a middle-aged Chinese tech tycoon. If there is news of a marriage in a few months, then hahaha the world is going to be in absolute chaos. Maybe we should start speculating stock..."
Toutiao

"Based on reports, America's number one pop star is currently dating a middle-aged Chinese tech tycoon. If there is news of a marriage in a few months, then hahaha the world is going to be in absolute chaos. Maybe we should start speculating stock..."

The unsubstantiated post quickly went viral — being viewed more than 1.5 million times — and people went wild with their theories, which included Katy Perry...

"Could it be Katy Perry?"
Toutiao

"Could it be Katy Perry?"

...Lady Gaga...

Weibo
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"Lei Jun (the founder of Xiaomi) and Gaga. Lei-de Gaga." (De means "someone's," which then forms the pun that sounds like Lady Gaga but also means Lei's Gaga.)
Toutiao

"Lei Jun (the founder of Xiaomi) and Gaga. Lei-de Gaga." (De means "someone's," which then forms the pun that sounds like Lady Gaga but also means Lei's Gaga.)

...Bruno Mars...

"Bruno Mars and Dong Mingzhu (chairwoman of Gree Electric)?"
Toutiao

"Bruno Mars and Dong Mingzhu (chairwoman of Gree Electric)?"

...Madonna...

"Could it be Jack Ma and Madonna?"
Toutiao

"Could it be Jack Ma and Madonna?"

...Rihanna...

"Rihanna and Jack Ma!"
Toutiao

"Rihanna and Jack Ma!"

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...and even the now-pregnant Beyoncé.

"Lei Jun and Beyoncé? Does Lei Jun want to learn English now?"
Toutiao

"Lei Jun and Beyoncé? Does Lei Jun want to learn English now?"

Others obviously had jokes.

"Has Michael Jackson come back to life?"
Toutiao

"Has Michael Jackson come back to life?"

Singers like Adele and Justin Bieber were quickly eliminated due to their nationalities.

"Adele is British!!!"
Toutiao

"Adele is British!!!"

"Bieber is Canadian! // Re: Justin Bieber and Dong Mingzhu."
Toutiao

"Bieber is Canadian! // Re: Justin Bieber and Dong Mingzhu."

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People soon zoned in on Swift.

"Taylor Swift?""Taylor Swift."
Toutiao

"Taylor Swift?"

"Taylor Swift."

"Fuck! Taylor Swift?"
Toutiao

"Fuck! Taylor Swift?"

An unsourced screenshot that listed Swift as the second-highest ranked American pop star after Michael Jackson based on album sales was being widely shared as "evidence."

Weibo

On the Chinese tech tycoon end, people overwhelmingly believed that Swift's new boyfriend was 52-year-old Zhang, who studied at MIT, sharing this screenshot of a group chat's reasoning.

"My guess: Lady Gaga and Charles Zhang.""Charles Zhang shouldn't count, tech tycoon, powerful network, seems more appropriate.""You must have examined someone's earwax to have found this information.""Zhang has a lot of contact with celebrities in China.""His company is public too.""Middle-aged, tech, rich, and single.""Sounds incredibly reasonable!"
Weibo

"My guess: Lady Gaga and Charles Zhang."

"Charles Zhang shouldn't count, tech tycoon, powerful network, seems more appropriate."

"You must have examined someone's earwax to have found this information."

"Zhang has a lot of contact with celebrities in China."

"His company is public too."

"Middle-aged, tech, rich, and single."

"Sounds incredibly reasonable!"

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People thought it was pretty believable.

"When Charles Zhang plays, he goes big."
Toutiao

"When Charles Zhang plays, he goes big."

Some were less convinced.

"Oh no!! Please don't let it be real!!!"
Weibo

"Oh no!! Please don't let it be real!!!"

The next day, Zhang held a livestream where he addressed the reports, and – according to local outlet Bia News – said, "It's a rumor! I have no taste for foreign women," before adding that he didn't know who Taylor Swift was.

Weibo

But during the same livestream, he also said, "Learn English so that you can not only rule the world but also get with American celebrities," which only added fuel to the fire.

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The hashtag #CharlesZhangRespondsToTaylorSwiftRomance immediately moved its way to the top of Chinese social media app Weibo's trending topics.

Weibo

A lot of Swift's fans were offended by Zhang's comments that he didn't know who Swift was.

"I can't believe he said 'don't know, I don't know her.' Hahahaha I was shook when I first saw the news. But Taylor's exes include Tom Hiddleston so... anyway, 'Rumour Has It'."
Weibo

"I can't believe he said 'don't know, I don't know her.' Hahahaha I was shook when I first saw the news. But Taylor's exes include Tom Hiddleston so... anyway, 'Rumour Has It'."

They turned his comment about not knowing Taylor into a meme.

"Who is Taylor Swift?"
Weibo

"Who is Taylor Swift?"

"My poor unlucky Taylor. My heart hurts."
Weibo

"My poor unlucky Taylor. My heart hurts."

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"Here, have a gif to experience for yourselves how I am feeling."
Weibo

"Here, have a gif to experience for yourselves how I am feeling."

Some — like Wu — wondered why Zhang was denying the rumor.

"Why is Charles Zhang denying the rumor?"
weibo.com

"Why is Charles Zhang denying the rumor?"

Others were "heartbroken" by the denial, sharing this photoshopped meme of Taylor Swift holding the Chinese flag.

"Charles Zhang said he wasn't interested in Taylor Swift?! Fans who are as shocked as I am, please hold me!!!"
weibo.com

"Charles Zhang said he wasn't interested in Taylor Swift?! Fans who are as shocked as I am, please hold me!!!"

But just when it all seemed to die down, another Weibo user snapped a photo of Xiaomi founder Lei Jun at Boston's Logan International Airport.

"Went to pick people up at Boston Logan Airport and Lei Jun walked out. Shoes are all the same brand... All going to Harvard China Forum."
weibo.com

"Went to pick people up at Boston Logan Airport and Lei Jun walked out. Shoes are all the same brand... All going to Harvard China Forum."

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The pictures reignited speculation that Lei was in fact the actual Chinese tech tycoon romancing Swift.

"Romance exposed."
Weibo

"Romance exposed."

Which...doge emoji everywhere.

Weibo

So does this mean we can expect Swift to release a Chinese single soon? 👀

"Taylor Swift is finally going to release a Chinese-style song."
Toutiao

"Taylor Swift is finally going to release a Chinese-style song."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Wu, as well as representatives of both Swift and Zhang for comment.

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