Bromance blooms for BuzzFeed editor and 'Brother Orange' after stolen iPhone

Pics of 'Brother Orange' lead man to stolen iPhone
Pics of 'Brother Orange' lead man to stolen iPhone

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Pics of 'Brother Orange' lead man to stolen iPhone 03:30

Story highlights

  • BuzzFeed editor Matt Stopera has arrived in China to meet "Brother Orange"
  • The two connected after "Brother Orange" ended up with Stopera's stolen iPhone
  • Chinese Internet users are convinced the two are soul mates

(CNN)It's the Internet bromance that's electrified China.

Two men from different worlds — a BuzzFeed editor from New York and a man in southern China known as "Brother Orange" — have united dramatically after social media helped them bond over a stolen iPhone.
    Matt Stopera, 27, was greeted with bouquets of flowers, hordes of photographers and screaming fans as he arrived in Meizhou, southern China Wednesday, embracing Li Hongjun -- a restaurant owner who somehow came across the iPhone that Stopera lost in New York over a year ago.
    Li doesn't speak English and Stopera doesn't speak Chinese — but Chinese social media users are convinced they are soul mates.

    Who is Brother Orange?

    The star-crossed pair first connected when Stopera noticed strange photos in his iCloud image gallery of a man taking selfies with an orange tree.
    This photo of "Brother Orange" appeared in Matt Stopera's iCloud account.
    Confused, Stopera took to the Internet to see if anyone knew who the mysterious man was.
    The story went viral in China, where Internet users banded together to search for the stranger, who they nicknamed Brother Orange.
    That man was Li, from Guangdong province, who was snapping pics with Stopera's old iPhone without realizing the photos were being uploaded to the BuzzFeed writer's cloud account.
    With the mystery solved, thousands of Chinese Internet users demanded a "happy ending" and clamored for the two men to meet.

    'International bromance'

    Brother Orange made the first move.
    "Matt, I welcome you to come to Meizhou and try some local food," he said on Weibo, China's microblogging platform. That post was "liked" over 12,000 times.
    Matt quickly accepted. "Everybody wants me and Brother Orange to unite," he told CNN last month.
    While Stopera waited for his visa to be approved, the two swapped messages -- Stopera began learning Mandarin phrases, while Brother Orange posted videos of himself learning English.
    But when they finally met, the smiles and hugs said it all.
    According to images posted to social media, the two spent their first hours in China eating noodles and walking around tourist sites.
    They also planted a tree together.
    Chinese Internet users were over the moon.
    "Matt crossed the ocean to meet you, how touching!" said one. "It really is an international bromance."
    Another put it simply: "I wish you a happy ever after."