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Daily Drip

Tencent Launches New WeChat Game to Help Children in Rural China

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Tencent’s WeChat platform launched a new built-in game last week with a philanthropic mission at its heart. Entitled Light Mountain Action, the game challenges players to guide a child along a path from home to school in the dark, picking up torches en route to help light the way while avoiding literal pitfalls.

It’s the kind of straightforward but addictive game that you can see becoming popular with commuters — similar to platform-jumping title Tiao Yi Tiao which claimed 100 million users in its first two weeks.

But Light Mountain Action‘s gameplay is based on a real life situation, with scores of children in China’s rural areas having to make often treacherous trips just to reach their nearest school. This is emphasized each time a user plays the game via images and stories of students in a remote part of Jiangxi Province, who get up before dawn to make their way to class.

Each time you play, the game encourages you to donate money to support the children who face this challenge in real life. Within two days of launching, the game had reportedly compelled 20,000 people to donate more than 300,000RMB. The funds raised will go toward installing solar-powered lighting in Jiangxi’s Chuanchuan County, where the children in the photographs live.

Tencent has made a big deal about its charitable efforts in recent years, helping launch China’s first “Internet Philanthropy Day” in 2015, an event which pushes users of its WeChat platform to send digital funds to good causes every September. This is one of the reasons TechNode proclaimed earlier this year that the company was “leading the digitalization of China’s charity sector”.

Engaging users through a fun and addictive game on WeChat seems like a smart move in this realm, and will hopefully lead to some real change in China’s rural areas.

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.