Chinese netizens find poor fashion sense more of a crime than insider trading

The detention of a Chinese fund manager for suspected insider trading and stock market manipulation has created an outcry among Internet users, not because of his questionable business ethics but rather his lousy sense of fashion.

With only a high school education, Xu Xiang, 37, had more than 10 billion yuan (S$2.2 billion) worth of assets under his management before being arrested and his firm managed to repeatedly outperform the market with investment returns exceeding 300 per cent even when the market suffered sharp declines.

With a reported personal wealth of more than four billion yuan, Xu was spotted wearing a wrinkled and ill fitting lab coat-like blazer. Added to his messy and unstylish hair, the exhausted Xu looked nothing like a trend-setting financial tycoon but rather a worn out physician when he was arrested.

A photo of him wearing handcuffs was leaked online Sunday night, which is believed to capture the moment he was detained by police.

After an initial wave of public derision targeting Xu's business ethics, Chinese Internet users shifted the focus of their ridicule toward the lab coat-like blazer, which was identified by stylists as a Giorgio Armani creation worth 26,999 yuan.

"Are you sure he was detained for market manipulation instead of illegal medical practices?" some Internet user asked mockingly.

"How come the dentist in the ambulance can manipulate stock price?" another added jokingly.

"Long blazer just makes short people even shorter. Xu, never wear an overcoat," others even offered dressing advice.

In response to questions about why stylish Armani designed such a "stupid-looking" item, some fashion insiders posted a comparison photo showing what the same jacket looks like on handsome and muscular models, defending the piece showcasing the fashion trend of "normcore", a combination of "normal" and "hardcore", which represents a simple, comfortable and popular style. "The problem is not with the clothes, but the person who wears them".

China's dominant e-commerce platform Taobao also joined the public binge condemning Xu's bad sense of fashion when some e-shop owners began offering similar jackets to the one worn by Xu at a price of several hundred or even thousand yuan.

Some background information about Xu:

Nicknamed one of the "dare-to-die" traders on the Chinese stock market, Xu began to trade stocks at the age of 17 with tens of thousands of yuan from his parents. Giving up the college entrance exam at the age of 18, he became dedicated to stock investment and known for his aggressive strategies, soon rising to become a star fund manager due to his market-beating performance.