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A 'romantic' story of two men and an iPhone

This is a story about how one stolen iPhone created an unbreakable bond between an American and a Chinese man and made them both famous.

The internet is full of trolls trolling trolls, cat memes and an occasional leak of celebrities' nude photos. But every once in a while a story breaks out, so bizarre and wonderful that you can’t help yourself but to look away from the monitor and just go: “WHAT!”.

One of those WHAT! moments started unfolding during February 2015, when a man called Matt Stopera, who lives in a place called East Village in the USA, noticed something strange. His iPhone’s Camera roll started filling up with strange pictures from somewhere in China. Fireworks, shops, even some dude holding oranges.

Obviously, first it freaked him out, then intrigued him, and so Matt decided to lurk awhile, looking at photos from a distant world, not knowing how they got into his Cloud and what it all meant.

He even had a BuzzFeed story asking (opens in new tab) “Who Is This Man And Why Are His Photos Showing Up On My Phone?”


After talking to an Apple employee he discovered that his old iPhone, which got stolen a year ago, and the new one he has now – share the same Cloud account.

The stolen iPhones often end up in China, and that was the case with his old phone, too.

They unlinked the two phones from the same account, and Stopera went on with his life. Or so he thought.

He woke up the next morning only to find out that his story was trending like crazy on Weibo (Chinese Twitter), and that it was shared more than 10,000 times. The dude holding oranges was quickly found, and everyone started rooting for them to meet.


He even got contacted by Weibo staff, which helped him set up an account and start talking to the orange dude, now known as "Brother Orange".

Now he’s a celebrity in China, with thousands of followers, some of them even asked him to come to China and meet “Brother Orange”.

So, they will. On 18 March 2015 they will meet in Meizhou, China.

First Weibo, then the whole of China. Next, who knows? Maybe MTV?

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.