With perfect timing, Internet entrepreneur Ma Huateng, better known as “Pony Ma”, has used his resources to signal his allegiance to China’s ruling party, and its leader, Xi Jinping.
On the day the Chinese president delivered his speech to the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the country’s largest mobile game operator, Pony Ma’s Tencent, launched a new game called “Clapping Hands for Xi Jinping”.
The game is simple. It starts with a short video of Xi’s speech, and users are rated on how many claps they give the president in 19 seconds.
According to the CPC mouthpiece Global Times, Xi won 71 rounds of applause in his three-and-a-half-hour speech. In the game, he won even more – a billion claps in the first day.
While this is a politically correct game, it may not be a popular one. But then Tencent, which has more than 200 million registered players, 20% of whom are under 17 years old, is carefully expanding its market share.
Apparently the state-owned media and commentators are not happy about such games being too addictive to youngsters, as detailed in the July 3 editorial in the party-controlled People’s Daily slamming Tencent’s most popular game, King of Honors.
As a result, Tencent restricted players under 12 from playing more than one hour each day, teenagers from playing more than two hours per day, and imposing more parental guidelines. But these measures were deemed insufficient by China Daily.
This month, it was reported that Beijing wanted to take a 1% stake in emerging technology giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, Sina, Youku and other firms. That signals that Beijing would like these enterprises to get in line with the party on some important social matters.
Both Tencent and Alibaba vowed their support to the proposal, although some investors worried it might spell a more tightening approach and the Beijing element may not be good for these enterprises to expand overseas.
Earlier Tencent said it had more than 7,000 Communist Party members on staff, or about 23% of its employees. The number of party members has been growing by nearly a thousand every year, of which 60% are backbone technicians in the company’s WeChat, gaming, comic and publication businesses.