‘Little Fatty’ a big hit,

An overweight Chinese petrol station attendant has become an unexpected celebrity after a picture of his portly face was posted on the internet – and then started appearing on movie posters and in other unlikely places.

Nicknamed "Little Fatty," 19-year-old Qian Zhijun’s picture was loaded on to the internet four years ago by a teacher.

His face – round, ruddy cheeked, with a drooping mouth and topped by a mop of black hair – has since replaced Tom Hanks’ on a poster for the movie The Da Vinci Code and Johnny Depp’s for Pirates of the Caribbean, to name just two.

Though famous now and having appeared extensively in Chinese media, Qian says he was rather upset when he first saw his photo being made fun of on the web.

"Now my feeling has changed. If you always feel depressed, then you feel uncomfortable. Now I can view this event with a calm mind, and I feel released," said Qian.

He has an official Web site (www.xiaopang.cn) run by friend Gao Feng, which operates as a forum for overweight people and offers tips on healthy eating and dieting.

Qian, who loves cooking, hopes to use his fame to launch a career in the media, saying he wants to work as a host for a television cooking program or report on gourmet restaurants.

He even has impersonators. Recently he was joined by six of them – along with a dozen belly dancers – who imitated his unique facial expression.

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