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Auto-chat app sparks social skills concern


15:47, February 18, 2013

(File Photo)

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The popularity of a new auto-chat app among young Chinese netizens has sparked debate about social skills and tendencies under China's one-child policy and craze for online networking tools.

By Sunday, the "little yellow chick" app had attracted more than 2.2 million followers. It was launched in December on Renren, the Chinese version of Facebook, a social networking site most popular among students.

Anyone can post a message to which the "chick" will respond with its smart while mischievous replies. Although the replies are generated by sophisticated software rather than human direction, netizens have been amused by its humorous and frequently surprising answers.

It has become a perfect talking mate for fun-hunting youngsters. It knows Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," and can tell a boy to go get his love if he has a crush on a girl. It often humors the human conversation partner as the best-looking guy or girl in the world.

"We don't have to worry about bothering others when talking with this chick, which is a relief for us overseas students," said Chang Yue, a university freshman.

It also gives young people a channel to vent their complaints about study pressure, emotional problems as well as their opinions about social events.

Web users even asked about solutions to tackle Beijing's worsening air quality when China's capital city choked in dense smog in January.

"The app has catered to the need of youngsters to communicate with people and feel emotionally connected," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor from Renmin University of China.

Under China's current family-planning policy, most Chinese families only have one child, and Zhou believes this feeds into the success of little yellow chick.

"The only child in a family lacks emotional communication when they grow up, which makes them more prone to be technology dependent," according to the academic.

Enjoy online chatting with "little yellow chick".

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