Today at Salon, Andrew Leonard reports that the country where Avril Lavigne‘s the biggest isn’t the U.S. or even her native Canada. It’s China, of all places. I find that hard to believe, considering China doesn’t even have any Hot Topics, but the fact that she’s recorded a version of her new single, “Girlfriend,” with the chorus sung in Mandarin looks like proof. Actually, after listening to the song a few times, the Chinese love for Avril makes a little sense: the song is the kind of nitrous-giddy, straight-faced ultrapop that Asia is apparently addicted to. It doesn’t take much to imagine the chorus being sung by a squadron of superpowered hamsters or something, an effect that’s increased exponentially when you hear it sung in a foreign language. (It also makes me wonder if you’re allowed to drop F-bombs on the radio in non-English speaking countries.) I’m disappointed that Avril still hasn’t gone back to working with the Matrix, but for her unabashed globalization-era market-whoring I’ll give her a big thumbs up and a “ding hao.”

PS: If you’re interested in real Chinese rock made by real people who are really from China, you should check out Lonely China Day and Rebuilding the Rights of Statues, both of whom have albums coming out stateside at the end of May.