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Rather than being alienated by digitization, many Chinese seniors are embracing the possibilities of technology -- which may help China address its increasingly pressing aging problem.   © Reuters
The Big Story

From WeChat to Taobao, China's elderly are embracing big tech

Far from being daunted, many are sold on communication and e-commerce apps

COCO LIU, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- Like many Chinese citizens, Xu Chang scrolls through e-commerce sites on his phone every day. He chats with his friends via WeChat, a ubiquitous instant messaging app. He navigates through Beijing's traffic jams using Gaode Maps. When a cold spell hits, he stays at home, enjoying meals delivered through a food delivery app.

But Xu is not a millennial; he is an 80-year-old retiree. After reading an article about Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma and his e-commerce empire five years ago, the former civil servant said he could not help but download Alibaba's Taobao app. "I was curious about what Taobao could offer," Xu recalled. Since then, he has tried apps one after another, with a total of 64 apps now installed on his smartphone.

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