For Beijingers Looking To Hook Up: There's An App For That
An Phung is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. She has contributed to NYTimes.com, Patch.com and City Limits. She also spent time reporting in Indonesia where she covered stories about the country's growing illicit drug trade. An graduated from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in international reporting.
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What is the Big Idea?
A new mobile app that helps young Beijingers hook up is a runaway hit, according to Economic Observer. Weixin, which means "tiny message" uses geolocation to track and message other app users within a one kilometer radius to "engineer" an encounter with a stranger around Beijing's high-end offices and hotels.
A Tencent QQ account is the only log-in option. The instant messaging service has a lion's share of China's registered users already signed up with QQ, and that means Weixin is an option for more than 711 million active accounts. In other words, just about every single Internet user in China is registered with Weixin, a name that is also a homonym that means "for sex."
What is the Significance?
Young, hipster Chinese aren't only getting wealthier or more fashionable, they're also more emboldened by their newfound wealth. Casual sexual encounters are turning the government's heavy Internet censorship, communist stronghold and conservative Confucian values on its head.
"There is no shame attached to this popular new app. Shame would require a moral context -- and since most of the users are well-educated city-dwelling hipsters who expect to do what they please, go where they want, and surf online at any moment...moral stances are in relatively short supply," Zhu Chong writes in the Economic Observer.
It's mostly men making the initiative and they are usually on the prowl for "yue pao" which translates to an "appointment bang." A man's chances of scoring are increased if he is rich, tall or smart. If he's no Jude Law, then a picture of his BMW or an address to the Ritz Carlton will do the trick.
Similar apps were launched at SXSW this year that uppped the creepy quota for hooking up. Highlight was the most talked about app that alerts users on their iPhones, with push notifications, that other app users with similar interests are nearby.
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