A 12-year-old Algerian boy was crowned winner of the eighth Shenzhen Expats Chinese Talent Competition on Sunday.
Younes Bensebaa wowed judges with his recital of Nostalgia, a popular poem by Yu Guangzhong, to claim the top prize.
Aleksandr Vaskin, 11, from Russia, and 12-year-old Ahn Tae-hyeon from South Korea were both named runners-up.
The annual event, which promotes Chinese culture as well as exchanges between Chinese and foreigners in Shenzhen, attracted hundreds of entrants this year, organizers said.
After several heats, they were whittled down to 10 finalists from nine countries.
During the three-hour event on Sunday, contestants had to make a three-minute speech in Chinese, play a word-guessing game, and perform a talent.
One of the judges, professor Gu Xiaojin from Shenzhen University’s School of Communication, said the competition shows that Chinese culture is well-recognized among the city’s expats.
“They’ve learned about Chinese culture, blended into the culture, and will probably promote it when they return to their home countries,” he said.
The talent contest is organized by Shenzhen Daily and its English-language website, Eyeshenzhen, and is sponsored by the city’s foreign affairs office and information office.
Since its launch in 2010, the competition has become an important event among the expat community. Thousands of people have taken part, with some going on to become rising stars on Chinese TV.