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administratorFebruary 242017

WeChat and the US Election

WeChat and the US Election
WeChat and the US Election

(Yicai Global) Nov. 10 -- After finishing his daily exercise routine at 7 a.m., Jason Yun opened Weibo (China’s Twitter) on his iPhone 7 Plus and started to check friends’ posts. One was a video starring Benedict Cumberbatch that mocked the US presidential candidates.

Yun watched and laughed. He then tapped WeChat’s familiar green double-callout icon and sent the video -- ‘The Story of the 2016 US Presidential Election’ -- to his best friend Qing Qin in California. “Watched this under Wi-Fi conditions J,” he texted.

A message soon shot back. Qing sent him an up-to-the-minute screenshot of voting from CNN’s app. “The orange monster is leading: 24 to 3!”

“I doubt he can take Pennsylvania or California,” Jason replied on WeChat. “I actually like Trump,” Qing said. “He could bring positive change to the economy.”

The two then messaged back and forth on the voting tallies and the various states for the rest of the morning, all on WeChat.

Theirs was just one of thousands of interactions on WeChat yesterday, the day the US went to the polls to elect a new president. Many Chinese were captivated, following and discussing events, some seriously and some less so, on China’s biggest social media app, which has over 900 million users.

Jason and Qing’s conversation was a pretty earnest one. Other people poked fun at both the election and the candidates on WeChat. It’s a social media app after all, not a serious news app.

Predicting Trump’s win

“Chinese singer Joyce Tsai predicted 10 years ago that Trump would win,” one post claimed. It showed an MTV screenshot of her singing ‘D.T. in the House.’

One post claimed that the small Chinese town of Yiwu, the global production center of festive decorations and plastic gifts, had foreseen Trump’s triumph months in advance. The post had a screenshot of a local businessman saying, “There were few orders for flags with Hillary’s name on it. But a lot more with Trump’s.”

Naturally, users also sent posts relating to the stock markets. One post comparing the performance of two stocks went viral.

“While the global market tanked and the Shanghai market fell 1 percent, a magic stock rose 6 percent! It is called ChuanDaZhiSheng, which translated into English could be interpreted as Trump Winning By Wit.”