Alibaba’s ties with Chinese Communist Party app draw scrutiny

1 min read
Image credit: TechNode/Emma Lee

Alibaba is reportedly the developer of Chinese government propaganda app Xuexi Qiangguo, which translates to “Study to make China strong,” putting the tech giant under scrutiny over its ties with the government.

The app was developed by a special project team of the company known as the “Y Projects Business Unit”, which takes on development projects outside the company, Reuters reported citing people familiar with the matter. Through the app, users can read government news, browse short videos on Party theories, and even take a quiz on major aspects of Communist Party ideology. The recently launched app has overtaken China’s hit services like WeChat and TikTok’s China version Douyin as the most popular app in Apple’s China app store.

Although the news still hasn’t been confirmed, there’s evidence pointing to the close relationship between the tech giant and the app. Users with Alibaba’s productivity tool DingTalk can use their accounts to log into Xuexi Qiangguo, which will sync the users’ dialogues on DingTalk to the app’s chat feature directly.

In a response to inquiries from TechNode on the issue, the company stresses the “open” nature of the platform and explains that Xuexi Qiangguo is among a large number of partners.

“DingTalk is an open technology platform and committed to providing stable, safe and efficient technical support to fulfill the needs of our customers. Tens of thousands of companies and organizations have developed and are developing applications based on the DingTalk platform. That is a testament to its strong, reliable infrastructure and ease-of-use,” a DingTalk spokesperson told TechNode.

Not long ago, the tech giant was questioned for its ties with the government in November when the state media People’s Daily identified company’s legendary founder Jack Ma as a Party member among a list of extraordinary contributors to the country’s development over the last 40 years.