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This article was published on October 28, 2013


    Here’s one way to promote a chat app: share the profiles of female models for users to chat them up

    Here’s one way to promote a chat app: share the profiles of female models for users to chat them up Image by: AFP/Getty Images
    Kaylene Hong
    Story by

    Kaylene Hong

    Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

    We already know there’s a lot of competition in the mobile messaging world — we rounded up 22 apps recently — but this example from China is an interesting way to stand out from the crowd.

    In a bid to counter the overwhelming popularity of Tencent-owned messaging service WeChat, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is sharing the profiles of 100,000 female models with users of its Laiwang app — according to its official Sina Weibo page (via the Wall Street Journal). A linked landing page shows a female cartoon character being swooned over by three male characters.

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    The models on Laiwang come from Alibaba’s Tao Girl platform, a resource for merchants seeking professional models to show off their products on the company’s e-commerce site.

    TaoGirls

    Will such a move help Laiwang gain mainstream traction though? It seems likely that all it will do is gain the attention of those seeking any possible means to get in touch with an attractive woman. Laiwang revealed on Sina Weibo that one million male users downloaded the chat app a day after Alibaba rolled out the campaign.

    Headline image via AFP/Getty Images