The 8-year-old American, who has online fans in China, will soon see T-shirts with his facial expressions on them, Chen Nan reports. Chinese fans know him as "the boy with a fake smile".
His facial expressions have been used widely on Chinese social media as emojis and animated GIFs, which are making Gavin Thomas, 8, a net celebrity in China. He gained more than 1 million followers on his Sina Weibo account within 24 hours of his page being launched on July 12. Four months later, the number nearly doubled.
The boy, who was born and lives in Minnesota, the United States, was stopped on the streets of China by his fans who wanted to take selfies with him. His trip had trended on Chinese social media, too.
In August, Thomas made his first trip to China. "I have a big smile and people told me that I am cute," says Thomas in an email interview. "I do hope to return to China. I want to play video games or make videos when I grow up. I am taking acting lessons." His favorite hobbies are video games, fishing and soccer, he adds.
Earlier this month, Thomas traveled to Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, as an invited guest to the 2018 Tencent Global Partner Conference.