China's glamorous new first lady an instant internet hit

Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:49am EDT
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - With a smile on her face, dressed in a simple black peacoat and carrying an elegant unbranded bag, China's new first lady, Peng Liyuan, stepped into the international limelight on Friday and became an instant internet sensation back home.

Stepping off the aircraft in Moscow - the first stop of President Xi Jinping's maiden foreign trip since assuming office - Peng's glamorous appearance and obvious affection for her portly husband caused Chinese microbloggers to swoon.

"So beautiful, Peng Liyuan, so beautiful! How composed, how magnanimous," wrote one user on China's popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo.

"Who could not love such a lady as this and be insanely happy with her?" wrote another.

Taobao, an online shopping site similar to eBay and Amazon, quickly began offering for sale coats in the same style of Peng's, advertising it as "the same style as the first lady's".

Others wondered what brand her bag and shoes were.

"Her shoes are really classic, and who designed her bag?" wrote a third Weibo user.

Peng is best known in China as a singer, and for many years was arguably better known and certainly more popular than her husband.   Continued...

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and First Lady Peng Liyuan wave as they disembark from a plane upon their arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov