Dimash Kudaibergenov, a popular Kazakh singer, is surrounded by Chinese fans taking photos of him at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangdong province last month. Provided Tochina Daily
Dimash Kudaibergenov, a 23-year-old singer from Kazakhstan, has driven more Chinese people to learn about the Central Asian country, thanks to his stunning popularity in China. [Special Coverage]
Kudaibergenov rose to fame in January when he first took part in Singer, a Chinese TV competition. His high-pitched voice and handsome appearance quickly brought him instant fame in China and he gained more than 3 million followers on weibo, or micro blog.
Kudaibergenov's popularity was partly responsible for a surge in the number of Chinese following the Sina Weibo account of the Kazinform News Agency, a major Kazakh news portal. The number surged by 5,000 in three months.
Born in Aktobe, Kudaibergenov is already famous in Russian-speaking countries, and his growing popularity in China has made his Kazakh fans even prouder.
According to a local report, many fans have visited the Kazakhstan National Academy of Arts, where Kudaibergenov studies. The academy set up a large LED TV in the open air so people could watch his performance in China.
On the streets of Aktobe, huge photos of the young celebrity hang on the walls of many buildings with the slogan, "Support From the Motherland", written in Kazakh.
In fact, his links with China began in 2015, when he sang for President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader's state visit to Kazakhstan.
Now Kudaibergenov is so popular in China that he even has a nickname, "Hasakesitan Xiaogege", which translates as "Little Kazakh Brother".
He was named the ambassador for "I'm in China" in Chengdu, Sichuan province, the first stop of the "I'm in China" program. The program is a cultural exchange project initiated by China International Communication Center and related institutions in which foreign stars, online celebrities and volunteers are invited to visit different places in China and experience local culture and customs.
That helped to realize his unfulfilled wish - feeding pandas. He already made the other come true when he took part in the TV show in China and met movie star Jackie Chan, who visited while Kudaibergenov shot the reality show.
"I'm grateful that the visit to Chengdu provided me an opportunity of close contact with pandas. I hope I can travel across China to see its different landscapes," he said.
During the tour he also discovered the close cultural connection between China and Kazakhstan.
"I was so impressed by the face changing art in Sichuan Opera and was surprised to see that costumes in Sichuan Opera share similar decorative designs with Kazakh dresses."
He said he plans to give a concert in Chengdu, a hometown of many Chinese pop stars and winners of talent shows. "The Kazakh people are very fond of Chinese culture, and I think people here will also enjoy our Kazakh culture."