Lei Jun's popularity surged as he self-deprecatingly embraced the 'OK' meme, which set him apart from celebrities who resisted internet humor and subsequently saw their reputations slump. Credit: Vulcan Post.

Let’s face it, it’s better to roll with the punches than try and fight them.

Case in point, Lei Jun, founder and CEO of smartphone giant Xiaomi.

The billionaire officially launched his account on Chinese video-streaming platform Bilibili on July 30, harnessing his unique sense of humor and charisma to connect with China’s netizen culture, Caixin Global reported.

The account has gained over 600,000 followers and the first video has received almost 4 million views, with Lei promising to introduce viewers to Xiaomi’s new products and work environment in the future.

Interestingly, his account bio reads “OK” and his profile picture shows him making an OK gesture, a reference to his rise to fame in Chinese meme culture five years ago, the report said.

In 2015, a video of Lei at a product launch in India went viral, in which he repeatedly shouted “are you OK” to gauge the enthusiasm of his audience. It became a meme overnight after a Bilibili user autotuned Lei’s speech, converting it into a song.

Lei’s popularity surged as he self-deprecatingly embraced the meme, even offering the song as a suggested ringtone on Xiaomi smartphones, which set him apart from celebrities who resisted internet humor and subsequently saw their reputations slump, the report said.

Since then, Lei has used his perceived charisma to publicize Xiaomi, appearing on a debate competition show, interacting with netizens on the Quora-like Zhihu and later becoming the first top executive to set up an account on lifestyle app Xiaohongshu.

Services affiliated with Xiaomi, such as the MIUI operating system, have set up numerous publicity accounts on Bilibili. In February, Xiaomi collaborated with Bilibili by hosting online product launches for its Xiaomi 10 model, attracting millions of viewers, the report said.

Lei’s Bilibili account could be a new opportunity for Xiaomi, which has been trailing behind domestic rivals including Huawei, Vivo, and Oppo in terms of smartphone shipments and market share.

Coupled with the expected launch of a new Xiaomi 10 model in mid-August, it is suspected that Lei will use Bilibili as an e-commerce channel to promote new devices, allowing him to tap into Bilibili’s large user base of “Gen Z” consumers.

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