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China can't stop talking about Bill and Melinda Gates divorce

2021-05-06T23:02:49.175Z

Weibo users reacted in shock to the news of the divorce of the Gates, who have a large following in China.



Bill and Melinda Gates divorce is followed in China 0:39

Hong Kong (CNN Business) -

Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce has shocked China, where the Microsoft co-founder has achieved an unprecedented level of fame among Western entrepreneurs.

The hashtag "divorce from Bill Gates" had generated more than 830 million views and 66,000 discussion messages on China's Weibo platform, similar to Twitter, as of Wednesday, far exceeding the 91 million accumulated views when the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019.

Weibo users worried about everything from how the couple would split their huge fortune to whether the divorce would affect Microsoft or its charitable foundation.

Through their philanthropic organization, the couple have allocated $ 53.8 billion to global health, the fight against poverty and other initiatives.

Bill Gates' wealth is valued at about $ 146 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and the couple have pledged to donate most of their wealth to charity.

This is what Bill Gates said about their engagement in 1993 1:17

“You and Melinda have made tremendous contributions to people around the world.

Even if they don't go hand in hand in the future, I hope his foundation can continue and help more people, "wrote a Weibo user, in response to a post on Bill Gates' official account announcing the divorce in Chinese.

Microsoft's presence in China

Although Bill Gates no longer runs Microsoft, the company has been building a good relationship with Beijing for decades.

Its products have a considerable presence in China, even as other Western tech companies have been blocked.

While Facebook is blocked, for example, Microsoft's LinkedIn is still one of the few western social media tools available in mainland China.

The search engine Bing is also still operational, while Google has been without access for years.

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Bill Gates joins the list of divorced billionaires 0:35

And the success of the business has probably contributed to the popular attraction to Bill Gates.

He now has more than 4.1 million followers on Weibo, surpassing the 1.7 million for Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the 1.4 million for Apple's Tim Cook.

Even leading Chinese tech figures joined the conversation on Weibo.

Kai-fu Lee, a former head of Google China, which helped establish Microsoft Research Lab Asia, a highly influential network in China, said he had a hard time believing the news.

The Beijing-based Microsoft Research Lab Asia has cultivated many Chinese tech talents, including Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming, Alibaba CTO Wang Jian, and former Baidu Chairman Zhang Yaqin.

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Bill and Melinda Gates, in photos: Bill and Melinda during a press conference in Seattle announcing the Millennium Scholarship Program, which would provide financial aid to high-achieving minority students, on September 16, 1999. ( Credit: Jeff Christensen / AFP / Getty Images) →

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That same year, in December, the couple announced a $ 100 million donation to establish the Bill and Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program.

(Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images)

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Queen Elizabeth II presents Bill Gates with his honorary knighthood at an event she attended with Melinda on March 2, 2005 at Buckingham Palace in London, England.

(Credit: Chris Young / ROTA / Getty Images)

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Bill and Melinda Gates visit a village in the Patna district of the Indian state of Bihar on March 23, 2011. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)

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Bill and Melinda Gates visit a village in the Patna district of the Indian state of Bihar on March 23, 2011. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)

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The then president of France, Francois Hollande, poses with Bill and Melinda Gates after awarding them the title of Commander of the Legion of Honor at the Elysee Palace in Paris on April 21, 2017. / Credit: KAMIL ZIHNIOGLU / AFP via Getty Images )

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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Melinda, and Bill Gates converse during an event at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City.

(Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images)

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Bill and Melinda Gates speak with French President Emmanuel Macron during the Goalkeepers event at Lincoln Center on September 26, 2018 in New York.

(Credit: Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty Images)

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Bill Gates and Melinda pictured after visiting a school in Cape Town, South Africa, on October 25, 2019 (Credit: Rodger Bosch / AFP via Getty Images)

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In this screenshot, Melinda and Bill Gates speak during the "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global Citizen on April 18, 2020 to support frontline healthcare workers and efforts in the fight against covid- 19.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Bill and Melinda are "the most loving couple I have ever seen among famous entrepreneurs," Lee wrote in a Weibo post.

Gates, "old friend of the Chinese people"

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established its office in Beijing in 2007. Since then it has collaborated with the Chinese government on various national projects in the country, ranging from HIV intervention to poverty reduction.

Bill Gates himself has visited China more than a dozen times since the 1990s and has cultivated friendly relations with top leaders.

He was received by former Chinese President Jiang Zemin in March 1994, just before China officially accessed the internet.

At the time, China was eager to open up its economy and catch up with the West in technology.

The trip, in which Gates promised Jiang that Microsoft would help China develop its software industry, helped Microsoft accelerate its expansion into the China market.

In 2006, Gates hosted former Chinese President Hu Jintao for dinner at his home in Washington state.

And last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote to Gates to thank him for his support in the fight against COVID-19.

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates $ 100 million to fight coronavirus

Gates was even hailed as an "old friend of the Chinese people" by the ruling Chinese Communist Party in 2018. This is a title the Party uses occasionally for foreigners with whom it recognizes a deep friendship.

End of love

Meanwhile, on social media, some distraught Chinese users even commented that the divorce had shaken their beliefs about marriage.

The couple had been married for 27 years.

"Even you are divorced," wrote one person, responding to Bill Gates on Weibo.

"How can others hope to marry?"

Bill Gates Divorce

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-05-06

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