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Tencent's viral mobile game looks to be a real Xi pleaser

Gamers can virtually applaud Chinese leader's marathon speech at party congress

Tencent's viral mobile game lets users compete to see who can clap the most for General Secretary Xi Jinping.

TOKYO -- A new mobile game by Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings, which has players vying to out-clap each other to a speech by President Xi Jinping, has gone viral.

The release of "Excellent Speech: Clap for Xi Jinping" coincided with the recently concluded Chinese Communist Party national congress.

For those not fortunate enough to have heard Xi's marathon speech at the twice-a-decade event, they can use a mobile device to play the game on Tencent's news portal and hear a segment of it -- then applaud.

After the game opens, a clip of the speech is heard, followed by a composite of the congress and two hands. Players then have 19 seconds to tap their screens as fast as possible to earn points.

The little diversion has seemingly become a big hit, amassing over 1.3 billion claps since its release, according to the game's counter.

Despite the number of plays, however, the game seems designed to be more of a Xi pleaser than a crowd pleaser. The New York Times and other overseas media have reported on it, shedding light on the apparent practice of Chinese internet companies hoping to ingratiate themselves with the leader.

Tencent offers social networking sites, games and cloud computing services, and is similar to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding.

The influence of internet companies in the country is soaring, causing alarm in Beijing as it tries to control online content and opinions. For example, Tencent's popular WeChat messaging app is closely monitored, with any anti-government messages swiftly deleted.

Beijing is reportedly seeking to wield more influence over internet companies. The Wall Street Journal said in its Oct. 11 online edition that Chinese regulators have begun talks with Tencent and other large internet companies in order to acquire 1% stake in each.

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