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Warren Buffett sings in the Chinese New Year (+ video)

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I can think of any number of curious aspects of Warren Buffett's transmogrification into a Chinese pop star, but perhaps the oddest is that state-run TV here is using the 81-year-old Sage of Omaha to draw younger viewers.

Mr. Buffett, widely admired in China for his wealth, his investment instincts, and his charitable donations (probably in that order), made a cameo appearance playing a ukulele and singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" as part of a marathon Chinese New Year gala aired Sunday.

The annual Spring Festival TV gala on the lunar New Year’s Eve is watched by hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers. But its heavily scripted diet of moralizing comedy sketches, spandexed acrobats, magicians, and goldfish showing off their synchronized swimming skills (one of last year’s highlights) no longer appeals to young people’s more sophisticated tastes.

So state-run CCTV decided to air a hipper extended gala show online, and that is where Buffett comes in.

“We all know that Buffett is good at investment, but few knew he also did well in singing,” Wang Pinjiu, one of the show’s producers, told a press conference earlier this month, according to Xinhua, the government news agency.


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