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Gaokao top scorer rejects celebrity status

Updated: 2014-08-25 07:01
By Zhao Xinying (China Daily)

Zhao Haoyu never expected the summer vacation following his gaokao exam to be one in which he skirted celebrity.

After achieving the top score for the arts in Yunnan province - 708 out of a possible 750, - Zhao has been busy sharing his study tips by holding interviews and, following his high school's tradition, selling copies of his lecture notes to alumni since he received his results in late June.

That was, in some ways, to be expected, but he was surprised when companies invited him to endorse their brands.

A number of beverage producers, mobile phone companies, training schools and even a plastic-surgery hospital invited the 19-year-old, who has an undoubted screen presence, to star in their commercials.

However, Zhao turned down all the offers. "My parents and I are not interested in commercials," he said. "We also believe scoring the highest in the gaokao is not a big deal, and I'm not a celebrity or a superstar."

Zhao cherishes his privacy and spent the summer vacation doing his favorite things, such as reading, traveling and playing tennis.

"The year up to the gaokao was busy," he said. To relax during the summer vacation he traveled to Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan, and visited the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Qingdao, the seaside at Shandong province.

Reading without the pressure of an upcoming exam also gave him many hours of pleasure.

However, after being admitted to Tsinghua University, where he will major in economics and finance beginning in late August, Zhao has shifted much of his focus to reading the books recommended on the school's website.

"Mental preparation is important," Zhao said. "Tsinghua is a place full of talent and I may feel dwarfed there. So I tell myself to be ready for challenges and develop fully."

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