hile many parts of the Western world were celebrating the arrival this week of Jolly Old Saint Nick, China was going wild for its own version of Santa.
At some point during the holiday season, Chinese net users happened to notice that a classic character from a 1992 Hong Kong period comedy called the Royal Tramp bore a striking resemblance to Kris Kringle with a long white beard and red hat.
Dubbed “Chinese Santa,” photoshopped images of the character soon started making the rounds on Weibo, turning into a viral meme.
As well as an emoji:
And a hot-seller on Taobao:
Conveniently enough, the character’s name is Oboi, which is pronounced much like the English words “all buy.”
The character was played by Elvis Tsui. On Christmas, the now 57-year-old actor got in on the fun himself, writing on his Weibo account: “The old man with the red hat and white beard brings you best wishes this Christmas.”