Reuters ) – A Chinese government's propaganda app that recently became a big hit was developed by Alibaba, two people at the company told Reuters at a time when the nation's technical firms are under global control over their ties to Beijing.
"Xuexi Qiangguo", which literally translates as "Study to make China strong" and is a game on the government's propaganda theme to apply President Xi Jinping's thoughts, took over Tik Toks Chinese version Douyin and WeChat to become the county's most popular app on Apple's China app store last week.
It was developed by a largely unknown special project team at Alibaba known as "Y Projects Business Unit", which deals with development projects outside the company, the people said
Alibaba in New York, refused to comment on whether the business unit had developed the app.
App's development of Alibaba, whose chairman Jack Ma is a member of the Communist Party, is the last example of a Chinese technology company that collaborates with the government.
The country's propaganda department has released the app ahead of next month's People's Assembly in Beijing, China's top annual parliamentary assembly.
] The app, which includes short videos, public news stories and quizzes, was created by an Alibaba team. A user of Alibaba's own messaging app DingTalk can use their login information to log in to Xuexi Qiangguo. Alibaba said the app was built using DingTalk's software.
The staff of the Alibaba unit is responsible for developing and maintaining the app containing news, videos, live streaming and social commentaries, according to the sources and a job announced for Xuexi Qiangguo on the Alibaba career website.
The device does not have a website, but is described in job ads on popular Chinese career area Zhipin.com as a strategic level project that is in an establishment stage and offers many job opportunities.
At least Part of the app's unknown popularity can be attributed to directives issued by local authorities and universities that require people in China's expansive party members network to download the app.
The app has been downloaded over 43.7 million times on Apple and Android devices since its launch in January, according to estimates from Beijing-based statistical consulting firm Qimai.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Alibaba was making money from the t Han app, or who initiated their development.
Last year, Alibaba's executive vice president Joe Tsai turned into US treatment by Chinese tech firm Huawei Technologies as "extremely unfair" and strongly criticized what he called an attempt by the US government to prevent China's rise through the war.
Huawei, the world's largest network equipment manufacturer, has been largely blocked from the United States and some other countries with suspicion that the products can be used as a pipeline for espionage. Huawei and China have denied the allegations.
But major Chinese technology companies have worked extensively with governments in China on infrastructure, cloud computing and public security as part of the country's "Internet Plus" policy to improve traditional industries.
Cooperation with state media has also increased in recent years, among closer censorship laws requiring companies to toe the party line.
Tik Tok creator Beijing ByteDance Technology and WeChat creator Tencent Holdings are among some who have collaborated with state media with their social media platforms.
"The upside for these companies is that their record of collaboration can give them better space to acquire key licenses or opportunities," said Mark Natkin, CEO of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting, adding these partnerships was Beijing's way. to maintain control over private firms.
The disadvantage is that they can be exploited to participate in projects that, on economic or public relations alone, they can normally eschew, but which can be unpleasant or unwise to refuse. ”