Border collie Sylar lives in a $650,000 Beijing Mansion.
Sylar is a star.
Sylar did tricks and they went viral.
And Sylar made his owner rich.
Sylar is named after a character from the TV show – Heroes.
And Sylar has millions of followers on social media.
The story of Sylar is one of happenstance and good luck.
But Sylar also came on the scene when dogs became a cultural phenomenon in China.
“Before I had Sylar, I had nothing to live for,” said owner Zhou Tianxiao, 31, scratching his dog’s ears. “He gave me a purpose.”
Over the past year, builders have transformed a two-acre lot into Sylar’s mansion.
The mansion consists of a spa, a trampoline, an indoor pool, two murals of Sylar’s face and a party room with chalkboard walls, where someone has scrawled: “I love you.”
Sylar also is a symbol of love, economic progress and the Internet’s unique power to make you famous – sometimes overnight.
Five decades after Chairman Mao’s Red Guards were known to kill pet dogs — a “bourgeois” accessory the communist leader sought to quash during his purge of Western values — China’s youths are increasingly lavishing money on animals.
But that has changed drastically.
Today furry friends are seen as substitute children by the Chinese.
And they will spend a fortune on them, a number that keeps growing exponentially.
The Chinese are projected to spend the equivalent of $7 billion on furry friends by 2022, a surge from $2.6 billion last year, according to a German market research firm, Euromonitor.