The “Tuanyuan” (reunion) is an app developed by the Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. previously helped Chinese authorities track hundreds of missing children.
According to Xinhua news agency on Saturday, the Minister of Public Security claimed that since its release in May of last year, 611 missing children were found.
The app works by simply sending push notifications to users in the area where the child was last seen, including photos and descriptions. The notifications would be sent to various users farther and farther from the location until the child is found.
Following the success of the app, an updated version will be released by November where the app will include more features in collaboration with popular mobile apps, such as Alibaba’s online shopping website Taobao, search engine Baidu, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s instant messaging app QQ and mobile ride-sharing platform Didi Chuxing in order to further search and acquire more accurate information to track missing children.
Child abduction and trafficking is rampant in China due to its population control laws and the culture where parents prefer a male child as anheir for the family name. This resulted to abortions, killings or abandonment.
The population imbalance became a niche for criminals, as people would be willing to purchase children.