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China's internet masses pay tribute to Jobs

india Updated: Oct 06, 2011 10:30 IST

AFP
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Chinese web users posted nearly 35 million online tributes to Steve Jobs on Thursday within hours of the announcement of the Apple founder's death, which one called the "fall of a giant star".

The Apple brand is hugely popular in China, where diehard fans queue for days to get their hands on the latest products, and one young man drove for an hour to present a bouquet of white lilies to staff at a store in Shanghai.

"He was a great man. He needs to be remembered," the man, who declined to give his name, told AFP at the crowded Apple store, one of just five in mainland China.

White is a traditional colour of mourning in China and the Apple employees bowed deeply as they accepted the flowers from the man, who was carrying a picture of Jobs.

Jobs died Wednesday from cancer aged just 56, a premature end for a man who changed forever the world's relationship with technology through inventions such as the iPad and iPhone.

China has the world's largest online population at more than 500 million and a special tribute page set up by internet portal Sina carried unstinting praise from leading industry figures and internet users alike.

"Boss Jobs, have a good journey. Your products changed the world. Your thinking influenced a generation," said Kai-fu Lee, founder of technology incubator Innovation Works and former president of Google China.

Zhang Yaqin, chairman of Microsoft's Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group said: "The giant star of a generation has fallen."

He added the name iPhone 4S, Apple's latest smart phone launched just this week, meant "For Steve".

On Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblog service, nearly 35 million people had posted on his death by midday Thursday.

One, named Zhao Rongliang, said: "I will still support Apple. Apple makes my life more colourful."

The craze for all things Apple in China has triggered widespread cloning of iPhones and iPads.

Several Chinese online stores have offered Apple fans the opportunity to buy the much-anticipated next-generation iPhone 5 -- even though it does not yet exist.

In July, an American blogger even uncovered fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming. Even staff working there did not appear to know the shops were fakes.