Knowledge is power, say China's trivia quiz players

Updated 2018-02-07 09:44:02 Xinhua

Many students who once complained that they would never make any money from knowing the eight most famous poets of Tang and Song dynasties, now regret the time they wasted in class.

Dozens of live streaming quiz shows have taken China by storm since the beginning of the year. Following the similar format to HQ Trivia which is hugely popular in the United States, Chinese mobile apps offer prizes of up to 5 million yuan in a real-time quiz with 12 questions. Players who get all the answers correct split the prize.

It's a 20-minute show and contestants have 10 seconds to answer each question. Questions cover a wide range of topics such as traditional poetry, mathematics, physics and geography.

"It feels like going to school all over again," said Qin Jie, a 29 office worker in Beijing, who dug out high school textbooks, created a group chat of former classmates and bullied family members into joining in the game.

Qin said she didn't care much about the money, but very much enjoyed the things she learned.

"I like listening to the hosts talking about the questions and explaining the knowledge and logic behind the answer," she said.

Live-streamed quiz shows came under the spotlight when Wang Sicong, online celebrity and son of Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, announced a prize on a quiz app called Chongdingdahui (Race to the Top) on Jan. 3. Other apps Huajiao and Xigua quickly followed suit.

During the prime time in the evening, the number of participants can easily rise above three million for one show.

As the number of participants has grown quickly, the average won by each contestant has dropped to under ten yuan in each game. Winners sometimes took home 40,000 yuan in January.

Jia Ru, another participant, echoed Qin's opinion and stressed that it was not about the money.

"It's about the happiness of a fun quiz that only takes a short period of time each day," said Jia, who was a straight-A student at college and now works for an investment company in Beijing.

She said some questions look easy but is not easy to answer all 12 questions correctly.

Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Group, said live streaming apps were usually ugly with odd, vulgar, and sensationalist performances, but the trivia quizzes have changed all that.

As the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday approaches, the quiz games will continue to be popular, said Zhang.

However, after over a month of intense competition, several "unintentional errors" have popped out on various platforms.

In mid-January, Beijing's Internet watchdog ordered Huajiao to conduct a thorough inspection of its content as Taiwan and Hong Kong were given as countries in one question. The app later issued an apology.

Other apps also apologized for errors, such as a giving the origin of a well-known Chinese sandwich (roujiamo) as Jiangsu Province: It is actually Shaanxi Province.

The latest apology came from WeChat's "Brain King", a face-off trivia quiz game, last Wednesday, for its "weak ideology."

The quiz games have attracted millions of users and are broadcast nationwide, so it is important to be careful about content, quality and security, said Zhang.

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