China taps mobile game to aid poverty relief

BEIJING — The Chinese government is innovating its poverty reduction campaign tactics through tailored mobile games in an effort to attract the participation of the country’s huge online population.

In the latest effort, the poverty reduction office under the Ministry of Finance and Tencent’s instant messaging platform WeChat joined hands to develop a mobile game, which is set on farmland in several poverty-stricken counties and allows players to grow and sell agricultural products.

Through the sales of the virtual products they have grown, players could earn credits on the platform, which could be then used as discount coupons on an e-commerce outlet for purchases of real goods such as rice and fruits produced by local farmers.

Yongsheng county in Yunnan province, Pingjiang county in Hunan province and Fenxi county in Shanxi province are among the first batch of pilot regions on the game’s virtual map.

As China’s fight against poverty enters a new phase that focuses on targeted, precise solutions, the government has been seeking innovative ways to make the efforts more effective.

In 2018, China lifted 13.86 million people in rural areas out of poverty, with the number of impoverished rural residents dropping from 98.99 million in late 2012 to 16.6 million by the end of last year.

China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020.