The Chinese app that lets users watch videos and complete quizzes based on Communist Party propaganda was developed by a unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba, two company sources told Reuters.
The report comes at an awkward time for the company, as suspicions grow abroad that even private Chinese tech firms are heavily influenced by Beijing.
“Xuexi Qiangguo” (学习强国 – “Study Xi to make China strong”) has been a major hit among Chinese users, earning over 43 million downloads since its January launch, according to statistics firm Qihai. It is now the most popular Chinese app on the Apple China app store, overtaking short-video app Douyin (known as TikTok overseas) and WeChat.
The app was designed by a little-known team at Alibaba known as “Y Projects Business Unit”, which takes on special and infrequent projects, the sources said.
The videos, news stories and quizzes were all designed by members of the Alibaba team, they added, and login credentials from Alibaba’s messaging app DingTalk can be used to access Xuexi Qianggguo.