Chinese Internet giant Tencent and online retailer JD.com have jointly launched a public welfare activity, calling for sports lovers to convert their steps into charitable donations using a fitness tracking application.
"Running Chicken," a pilot project to help poor rural households in Hebei province earn money by selling chickens, was unveiled on Nov. 7. Through WeRun, a fitness tracking service that records the number of steps users take each day, people can donate "steps" to the project. For each 100,000 steps, JD.com will donate a chicken to a poor family.
According to JD.com, the project aims to promote e-commerce and poverty alleviation in rural areas. Rural families can raise the chickens in a green and natural way to earn money, while customers can enjoy healthy food and help eradicate poverty at the same time.
Over 110,000 WeChat users have taken part in the pilot project, converting more than 1.2 billion steps into 12,789 chickens as of press time. The project has also been trending on Chinese social media, garnering over 860,000 page views on Sina Weibo.
"The project will build a cycle of chicken reproduction, growth and sales, benefiting poor families in the long run. Meanwhile, people living in cities can enjoy green chicken without worrying about additives and pollutants. It is truly a win-win solution for poverty alleviation," one netizen wrote.
But some netizens complained that the chickens are being sold for too much money, arguing that the poultry's high price tag will hinder its popularity.
"The price for 1.25 kilograms of chicken meat is 168 RMB on JD.com, which is twice that of ordinary chickens. I think JD.com is making money through a new stunt. I doubt those chickens will sell well," another netizen wrote.
According to JD.com, around 100 households have benefited from the project so far. Each household can earn at least 3,000 RMB.