World

Warren Buffett croons for Chinese New Year

U.S. billionaire and philanthropist Warren Buffett sang and played the ukulele as he appeared in a video broadcast on China's state-run television Sunday to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Investment guru plays ukulele in video on China's state-run TV

U.S. billionaire and philanthropist Warren Buffett sang and played the ukulele as he appeared in a video broadcast on China's state-run television Sunday to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year.

U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett wished the people of China a happy new year Sunday when he appeared in a video during state-run TV's gala marking the Year of the Dragon. (CCTV)

The 81-year-old investment wonder popped up on CCTV and wished the people of China "a happy new year."

The Lunar New Year of the Dragon begins at midnight on Sunday.

"Your country has accomplished amazing things, and the best is yet to come," Buffett told the broadcaster.

It was unknown when and where the video was filmed, but Buffett appeared in casual clothes and sat in front of a model railway set.He crooned the American folk song I've Been Working on the Railroad.

The investor is well respected in China for his financial success.

He holds a 10 per cent stake in the Chinese auto group BYD.

Buffet is a keen ukulele enthusiast and several video clips have been posted online of him playing.

A woman with a red packet, which is used for holding money, poses for a souvenir photo with an employee dressed as a god of fortune outside a shopping mall in Beijing in the week leading up to the Lunar New Year. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Meanwhile, people in Beijing were preparing to mark the start of the new year on Sunday.

Ice sculptors were busy carving creations in a park ahead of the celebrations.

Lanterns are traditionally hung and later on Sunday people will start setting off fireworks to ward off evil spirits.

Legend has it that Chinese people descended from the dragon and many believe the powerful creature is auspicious, despite years of authoritarian rule and government discouragement of superstition. 

In a tradition that has continued for thousands of years, the Chinese have named each year after an animal in a 12-year cycle.