Chinese woman's book choice brings celebrity status

Chinese woman poses with a 1950s Russian instruction manual Image copyright Weibo/ChinaRussian
Image caption Was the book chosen because its colour matched the rest of the studio, or were there other motives?

A Chinese woman's choice of book in a set of posed photographs has gone viral in both her home country and Russia after internet users discovered its unusual title.

The set of photographs shows a young woman reading a book with a blue cover, all set against blue props and a powder blue background. It's when viewers on Chinese social media noted the title of the Russian-language book - Repair Guidebook for Excavator E-505 - that the mockery began, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Some users on the Sino Weibo messaging service pushed the theory that she might have a genuine interest in 1950s Soviet construction plant. "How do you know she doesn't have an excavator?" one asked, while another said "When I'm bored too, I want to go open a book on excavators." Others noted the ridiculous nature of the situation: "What's more embarrassing is that this excavator has been discontinued", said one, while a post on a Russian discussion forum said "She must be deeply attracted by the content, over 40 pages into it already".

The photos have been shared tens of thousands of times on Weibo, and made the model a wang hong - an internet celebrity. According to Stephen Chan writing in the South China Morning Post, it's the ambition of many Chinese internet users to achieve wang hong, which raises the question whether the book choice was a lucky accident or a piece of marketing mastery. Wang hong is seen as a way for people to make a fortune online very quickly, because they can use their fame to drive up the sales of a product or boost traffic to a new website, Chan writes.

One user on a forum agreed with Chan's analysis, claiming that the use of a classic such as Anna Karenina wouldn't have been noticed in a crowded market where the unique selling point is vital, speculating that "The stylist threw Anna Karenina away, giving the girl an excavator repair manual instead."

Image copyright Weibo/Chinarussian
Image caption Repair Guidebook for Excavator E-505, a must-read for aspiring Chinese internet celebrities

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