Chinese Government Looks To Piggyback On Mobile Game Popularity For Poverty Alleviation

Chinese Government Looks To Piggyback On Mobile Game Popularity For Poverty Alleviation
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When China opened its economy, the government managed to lift more than 850 million people out of poverty. But with nearly 1.4 billion people, there’s still a huge challenge for the government to improve their lives.

According to the state news agency, Xinhua, the Chinese government is looking to innovate mobile gaming for real-life impact.

The Ministry of Finance collaborated with Tencent, developer of WeChat, to create a mobile game for this purpose. The concept is agriculture-based gameplay, where the players can sell their goods in the digital marketplace.

Once their products are sold, the players can earn credits which they can then show to their local grocery store. The credits will give them discounts on agricultural goods and livestock produced by real-life farmers.

The planned game will be distributed first in towns with a high incidence of poverty. It will be piloted in Pingjiang County (Hunan province), Yongsheng County (Yunnan province), and Fenxi County (Shanxi province).

Hunan province, for instance, has a population of more than 67 million people, which is almost twice the size of California. Yunnan and Shanxi have a total population of over 100 million people, which is a third of the size of the United States.

Xinhua said that the forward-thinking policy of the government enabled China to lift nearly 14 million people out of poverty in 2018 alone. Now, there are still almost 17 million in China under the poverty threshold, according to the state news agency.

This kind of innovation is a huge jump from what China used to be just four years ago.

China has always been wary of video games and their perceived effects on behavior and psyche. In fact, for a long time, the government has banned video games from entering the market.

It wasn’t only until 2015 when it lifted the ban but only after assessing that the policy was ineffective. After all, the country is a known haven for piracy and bootleg copies. Instead of the government earning revenues through legal means, the gray market for video games prospered.

But industry experts know that China is a huge market for video games and mobile games. For instance, there are almost 800 million Chinese with smartphones in the country. Mobile games account for 66% of the total gaming revenues. From 2008 to 2017, the revenues from the gaming industry skyrocketed to 203.6 billion yuan or $30 billion from just $2.7 billion.