Want to Clap for Xi Jinping’s Speech? Use Your Smartphone

Want to Clap for Xi Jinping’s Speech? Use Your Smartphone

- in World Biz
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President Xi Jinping laid out his vision for China at the Communist Party congress in Beijing on Wednesday.

Credit
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

HONG KONG — Couldn’t get a seat at the Communist Party congress in China this week, but still desperate to applaud President Xi Jinping’s three-and-a-half hour speech? There’s a smartphone game for that.

Mr. Xi’s speech on Wednesday marked the start of the twice-a-decade leadership conclave in Beijing and laid out a vision of a China ready to confront challenges at home and abroad.

The game, offered by Tencent Holdings, operator of the WeChat messaging and social media platform, lets internet users show their appreciation for Mr. Xi’s address by quickly and repeatedly mashing their phone screens.

After it is opened inside WeChat, the game first plays a clip from the speech — about the “conflicts” in Chinese society, say, or about reducing rural poverty. Players then have 19 seconds to tap the bottom of the screen as many times as possible to make a pair of animated hands clap frenziedly. An image of the Great Hall of the People, where the speech took place, is in the background, giving players the impression of being among the 2,300 delegates.

The maximum possible number of claps in each round appears to be around a thousand. The game says players have clapped over a billion times in total so far.

Tencent has grown into one of the world’s most highly valued and most innovative internet companies in the past few years, even as China’s controls on the web have tightened under Mr. Xi. WeChat, which is nearing a billion users, has become an indispensable part of everyday life in China. People use it to hail taxis, order and pay for takeout, keep tabs on their friends’ social lives, and much more.

But the app’s popularity also requires Tencent to diligently obey — and to help enforce — the Chinese government’s censorship and restrictions on internet content.

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