Chinese tech behemoth Tencent is partnering with the China Association for Science and Technology and more than 30 game companies to popularize topics in science among the general public, Beijing News reported on Wednesday.
Tencent Games vice president Liu Ming will head the newly set up alliance. Other broad members include executives from China’s major gaming companies such as Season Entertainment, Shanda, and Perfect World.
“The heavy responsibility of promoting science communication has fallen on games,” Liu said at the alliance’s launch event on Tuesday in Beijing. Though video games can not replace real-world education curricula, visually rich media and properly designed controls can give players a feel for the natural phenomena that occur in our world.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has placed an emphasis on the country’s science and technology development. “For China to flourish and rejuvenate, we must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world’s major scientific center and innovative high ground,” he said in a keynote speech at a science conference last May in Beijing.
But the country’s science literacy is hindering that ambition. A survey carried out by the China Association for Science and Technology last year showed that only 8.47% of its citizens have basic scientific knowledge, well below their Japanese and European counterparts.
Last week, ByteDance also announced that the company is launching a campaign on its short video app Douyin to encourage users to upload clips that touch upon astronomy, botany, physics, engineering, and other STEM subjects.
A Guangzhou-based analyst at iiMedia Research, Liu Jiehao, told KrASIA that tech giants like Tencent and ByteDance have a unique competitive edge in promoting scientific education among the public—the huge traffic drawn to their services. “It’s not just an opportunity to expand the scope of their contents,” he said. “By using their entertainment platforms to spread science, these internet companies can close the distance among the general public.”
Write to Luna Lin at [email protected]