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Tech Thursday Episode 29

WeChat for foreigners, content regulations protect children (and adults), men spend more online, and China’s food-delivery preferences

Each Thursday, The World of Chinese takes the most ground-breaking, impressive, or just plain weird technological advancements related to the Middle Kingdom and serves them in bite-sized chunks to keep you up-to-date on the latest news in the world of Chinese technology.


No excuse not to WeChat Pay

In the past, when asked to make payments through the ubiquitous WeChat, foreigners could always claim to not have a Chinese bank account, thus being unable to activate the payment function.

Unfortunately, this excuse will no longer be applicable for now that WeChat have now permitted users to bind international credit cards to their account, although reports seem to indicate this is only the case for expats living on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

According to a report by Tencent in 2017, 64 percent of expats in China use WeChat Pay for their day-to-day needs. Now the remaining 36 percent are being encouraged to do the same.


Elsagate crackdown

An urgent notice was issued on Monday by Beijing’s culture regulator to all video streaming sites regarding Elsagate, the practice of using well-known characters to seduce children into watch videos with inappropriate content.

Streaming sites were told to monitor and self-censor inappropriate videos targeting at children, and game developers are banned from producing similarly insidious content in their games.

Elsagate—a portmanteau of Elsa, a character from Frozen, and -gate, the suffix used for scandals—first caused problems for Youtube in 2016. By last November, Youtube had shut down over 50 channels and 150,000 videos. Now that such content has entered Chinese video sites, regulators are ensuring that swift action is taken to limit their exposure to children.


Gaming regulations

Now that the children have been protected, authorities in China have now turned their attention to guarding adults against speculative history and explicit content in online games.

In a statement released last month by China’s publicity department, cyberspace management department, and other relevant ministries, authorities stated the need to step up the inspection of online games to combat explicit and inappropriate content, with a focus on games that “distort history, defame heroic figures, or spread deviant values.”

The rumored list of games up for inspection include popular titles such as mobile RPG Onmyoji and romance game Miracle Nikki.


Shopping spree for men, congee for all

According to a survey by UnionPay, for the first time, men in China are spending more online than women.

More than 100,000 people in 34 cities took part in the survey. There were 23 percent of men but only 15 percent of women who admitted to spending over 5,000 RMB per month online. This was mainly due to men using mobile phones to order more food and making micro-transactions to take their online gaming to the next level.

A report released by food delivery service analyzed Chinese mobile users’ food preferences, and showed that the most ordered dish in 2017 was congee with minced pork and preserved egg (18.86 million online orders). Coming in second and third were spicy chicken burgers and chilli and sour potato.


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