Jinri Toutiao is now the single biggest finder of missing people in China. Since incorporating the functionality in February 2016 until mid-December 2017, the news recommendation app helped find 4,126 missing people. And it’s not the only app helping the authorities locate people.

Several of the most popular apps in China have the additional function of helping locate missing persons through localized push notifications. Scores of specialist apps for registering family members young and old or reporting suspected child trafficking have also been appearing in the country’s app stores.

Based on figures provided to TechNode by parent company Bytedance, Jinri Toutiao is making the most headway with location-based notifications. Of the 4,126 people it found, 1,457 were elderly and 383 children. Toutiao sends push notifications to users of its apps within 10 kilometers of where a missing person was last seen. Parent company ByteDance has set up direct working relations with over 60 local police bureau across the country.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...