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Technology

iQiyi hopes to capture a slice of China’s silver economy with short video app Jin Shi

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 September, 2018, 2:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 September, 2018, 10:26pm

Jin Shi is a short video app from iQiyi, China’s answer to Netflix, aimed at drawing the country’s growing band of silver-haired viewers to the live-streaming boom.

With a clean user interface and easy swiping, the app resembles Beijing Bytedance’s popular short video app Tik Tok although the content is very different – featuring short clips with advice on how to deal with difficult family relationships and how to eat a healthy diet. Users can also switch to audio only.

Nearly one in every five Chinese are currently aged 60 or above, according to national statistics. The country's senior population hit 241 million at the end of 2017, and is set to rise to 487 million, or close to 35 per cent, around 2050. While this may pose a demographic challenge for China’s economy in the long term, consumption by the country's elderly is expected to surge to 106 trillion yuan (US$15.5 trillion) in 2050 from 4 trillion yuan in 2014, according to a report by the China Research Centre on Ageing, offering age-savvy companies a host of business opportunities.

Among the country’s online population, about 36 million are aged 60 or above, and they’re not scared of using new media technology. According to a recent survey by Tencent Research Institute and Shenzhen University, about 50 million users of WeChat – Tencent Holdings’ ubiquitous do-it-all app – are aged over 55. Despite accounting for only 2.7 per cent of the overall user base, the figure was up sharply from 7.68 million users a year earlier.

Jin Shi hopes to capitalise on China’s short video boom. Over the past year, Chinese users have more than tripled the amount of time they spend watching short videos, according to the China Internet Report, co-authored by the South China Morning Post, Abacus and 500 Startups.

The Jin Shi app is currently in a soft launch, and feedback will be collected before deciding on the next move, said an iQiyi spokesman. Jin Shi is the third stand-alone short video app that the country’s largest streaming platform has launched aside from its eponymous portal.

Earlier this year, Alibaba Group Holding, the parent company of the Post, published job advertisements for people aged over 60, offering annual salaries as high as 400,000 yuan, to help the company's efforts to “better understand how older consumers shop online and improve that experience”.