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How Chinese Tech Companies give back to the society

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

In the world where lockdowns and social distancing orders restricted the outdoors activity, digital technology is filling the gap in the society to keep everyone informed, connected and fulfilled. With big data collected through their all-encompassing service and new technology, Chinese tech companies such as Ant Group, Bytedance and Tencent are experimenting on ways to advance the society taking advantage of their own online platform.

We have researched the top tech companies across China to find out their best practices in online philanthropy, and came out with a list of several examples of raising public awareness for social good.

My Little Friend's Gallery – Tencent Charity Platform

On August 29th, Tencent Charity Platform launched a creative philanthropy program called “One yuan paintings”, part of its “Lighting life up with art” project. The program allowed Wechat users to buy paintings created by people suffering from conditions including autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome. The featured paintings, 36 in total, were sold for only 1 yuan each for a digital copy.

Within a few hours, the campaign had already reached its goal of raising 15 million RMB. A total of 5.8 million people paid to “buy” the art work.

The campaign was initiated by the Shenzhen Love for the Future Charity Foundation and executed by the Shanghai-based World of Art Brut Culture (WABC), an NGO dedicated to helping individuals with special needs. Its aims are described as helping those suffering of mental disabilities to better integrate into the society, and combat social prejudice by showcasing their artworks.

Ant Forest – Ant group

In August 2016, China’s online payment giant, Ant Group, leveraged the power of its digital technology to promote climate action. The Alipay Ant Forest project, launched on the company’s mobile app, rewards its users with “green energy points” each time they take a step to reduce their carbon footprint, such as by biking to work, going paperless and buying sustainable products.

However, rather than immediately spending those points on a real tree, Ant Forest gamified the project. These green energy points grow into a virtual tree on the user’s app, which Alipay matches by planting a real tree in a conservation area, in partnership with local NGOs.

For every virtual tree grown, Ant Forest donates, which eventually becomes a real one. By tapping on their screens, users got to making real-world environmental impacts through the engaging game-like reward system.

Toutiao Alert for Missing People – Bytedance

Chinese big tech also uses its advantage on data collection to tackle severe social problems. For instance, facial recognition technology across age groups is believed to be able to help police officers narrow down searches.

News aggregator Jinri Toutiao, a core product of the TikTok parent ByteDance, rolled out the new facial recognition function to find missing people on its platform at the end of 2018.

The technology is aimed at solving child abduction cases. Users can upload the missing people's photo and the platform can match it with missing people on the database.

Similar to the alert system, Tencent YouTu Lab also created a cross-age face recognition technology, with the support of Tencent's massive data storage. To fully master the natural facial changes from aging, the lab created a learning strategy to make cross-age recognition more reliable and accurate.

In the meantime, the team ensures full compliance with the privacy protection laws and restricted to missing people and minors in danger.

Serious Games Exploration for Social Value – Tencent games

In August, the Social Value Research Center of Tencent Games shared its “games as services” collaboration with industries to develop learning-oriented games for educational purposes.

The cognitive training game called Pavlov: Brain’It On is the game where Tencent Games co-creates with scientists. Featuring a collection of puzzle games that help players of all ages improve their attention span, information processing speed, working memory, inductive reasoning and spatial cognition.

During the development phase, academic results are used to create an accessible brain-training environment. The genesis of the game show that games can provide real-life solutions to education and self-betterment.

There are many ways successful businesses can offer support when society needs it. In the past decades, more and more charity actions created by tech companies have begun to break the barrier of gender, religion, ethnicity, and various identification. Chinese technology companies are using Internet charity with its tech strength, reshaping the society for better little by little.

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