Li Liangwei raises hands to point his fingers as he acts out one of Trump's most typical hand gestures. Photo: Courtesy of Zou Dangrong
After spending hours coloring his hair, applying make-up and even wearing a pair of blue contact lenses, 63-year-old Li Liangwei was ready for his photo shoot.
At a photography studio in Yeyang, Hunan Province, Li posed impersonating Donald Trump, the US president-elect.
He raised his right hand to point his finger, attempting to act out one of Trump's most typical hand gestures used while speaking in public.
"It's not easy for a Chinese man to assume the appearance of an American man, but I try to imitate the temperament and spiritual statement of Trump," said Li in his typical Hunan accent. Li used to work as a chief editor of a literature magazine in Hunan and is now retired.
Zou Dangrong, a TV and film director and a talent agent, is the man who discovered Li's talent of impersonating Trump, and plans to train and market him in China. Apart from Trump, Zou has marketed other impersonators for foreign political leaders, including Barack Obama.
The impersonators perform at various commercial occasions to entertain the audience. It has become a quite profitable business in China.
According to a report by Hindustan Times in December, Xiao Jianguo, a former security employee and now Obama's impersonator, is able to earn $1,000 for each of his shows.
"The prices for inviting our Trump will be between 10,000 yuan to 15,000 yuan ($1,146-$2,169), depending on occasions and events," said Zou.
"For example, Trump could be shown at a ceramic tile campaign to promote sales," he said, adding that he is working on a script for a short Internet comedy called US on Teeth, and he wants to invite Li to play Trump in it.
Zou said he has been searching for a suitable impersonator for Trump since Trump received his presidential nomination, and now he has found three potential impersonators.
The first one is a retired professor Tang Xinhua, whom Zou believes can impersonate Trump at more serious occasions, because Tang behaves more genteelly.
Li is the second. According to Zou, Li is suitable for the role because he has a quite similar temperament and personality as Trump.
"Li used to be my boss at the magazine," Zou said. "When he talks he habitually raises hands and point fingers. Meanwhile, Li was a company leader before retirement, which makes him act more vivid while mimicking a strong political figure."
Apart from that, Li has a sense of humor and a spirit of entertainment, similar characteristics with Trump, he said.
The third one is a young Chinese man who speaks good English and is ideal to imitate the young Trump, Zou said.
"Li and Tang cannot speak English, which is kind of disappointing," said Zou.
A couple of days ago, Zou said he was not sure if it's the best timing to unveil the Chinese version of Trump, because at the moment the Chinese people are still more familiar with president Barack Obama.
However, in the past week, Trump made a stir in China after making a protocol-breaking call with Taiwan's leader, and questioned whether the US should be bound by the one-China policy unless China makes concessions in other things including trade.
In Zou's opinion, Trump does not understand China, and has no sense of propriety in what he says.
"Trump should study a lot of things before he takes the office," said Zou. "If he is not a president with a good will, the world won't forgive him."
Li agrees with Zou. "I am only willing to impersonate Trump if he is being friendly with us," he said.