SANYA (China) - Pre-contest favourite Miss China won the Miss World 2007 title in her own country late on Saturday, much to the delight of the audience, in front of an estimated two billion viewers around the globe.
Twenty-three-year-old Zhang Zilin was crowned the winner in Sanya, China. Miss Angola came second and Miss Mexico third at the beauty pageant, held on the southern holiday island of Hainan, dubbed China's answer to Hawaii.
Two billion people in 200 countries were expected to tune in to watch the show, which saw Miss China take the crown ahead of 105 of the world's most beautiful and talented women.
The audience in the 2,000-capacity Beauty Crown Theatre, specially built for when Sanya first hosted the event in 2003, roared in delight as Zhang was crowned the winner.
The secretary from Beijing was the pre-contest favourite with British bookmakers, along with Miss Dominican Republic.
At 182 centimetres, Miss China was also the tallest contestant.
'There are 1.3 billion people behind me,' Miss China said during the 40-second interview stage of the contest, referring to her country's population.
'If I win I want to become a link between the Olympic Games (in Beijing next year) and the Miss World Organisation.'
'I want to use the power and beauty of Miss World to support those in need,' she said, speaking throughout in hesitant English, adding a few words in Chinese. -- AFP