I'm not dating Taylor Swift, says Sohu founder Charles Zhang

Charles Zhang Chaoyang, 52, (left) has denied speculation that he is dating American pop princess Taylor Swift.
Charles Zhang Chaoyang, 52, (left) has denied speculation that he is dating American pop princess Taylor Swift.PHOTO: YOUTUBE/PWC, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE

BEIJIING - The founder of China's internet giant Sohu has denied speculation that he is the latest love interest of American pop princess Taylor Swift, saying he doesn't even know who she is.

Charles Zhang Chaoyang, 52, was asked about the rumour during a session on Sohu's live-streaming platform Qianfan on Friday (April 21).

"It's a rumour! No taste for foreign women!" said the tech tycoon. " I don't even know who Taylor Swift is," he said of the 27-year-old singer.

There has been speculation on China's micro-blogging platform Weibo that "America's number one singer" is dating a middle-aged Chinese tech tycoon, the Shanghaiist website reported. It is not known what sparked the speculation.

Chinese netizens have assumed that the singer refers to Swift, who took the top spot on the 2016 Forbes Celebrity 100 list with her income of US$170 million (S$238 million) over the past year.

The identity of the Chinese tech tycoon is unclear, with some saying he could be Zhang.

After the live-streaming session, Zhang's comments went viral on Weibo, the South China Morning Post reported. Some fans of the American singer criticised the tycoon. "He offended every foreign woman ," one wrote. Another said: "It's not as if Taylor would be interested in him."

With the Sohu founder struck off the list of possibilities, the search continues for Swift's alleged new love in China, the Shanghaiist said.

It added that another tech tycoon Lei Jun, CEO of smartphone giant Xiaomi, was ruled out by netizens because of his poor English skills.

The love life of the American pop star has long been in the media spotlight. Her former beaus included British actor Tom Hiddleston, American singer John Mayer, Scottish singer Calvin Harris, as well as member of pop boy band One Direction, Harry Styles.