Summary of China’s New Phenomenon: Kua Kua Groups

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Kua Kua groups – China’s new fad on social media platform WeChat – are chat groups where people gather to shower one another with praise. University students set up these groups to provide comfort as well as to vent and to entertain themselves. As the demand to hear compliments grew, online store owners began monetizing the trend. Cui Huiying is a reporter for Southern Weekly, which The New York Times considers to be “China’s most influential liberal newspaper.” For this article, Cui interviewed Kua Kua business owners, customers and culture observers to explore the phenomenon. Filled with intriguing stories and well-structured narratives, the report presents the origin of Kua Kua groups, explains how they work and digs into the social mind-sets behind their success.

About the Author

Cui Huiying is a reporter for Southern Weekly, one of the most outspoken newspaper in China which The New York Times has described as “China’s most influential liberal newspaper.”



“It’s noon, and I’m still in bed. Please praise me.” “You’re laying in bed so quietly you haven’t disturbed your upper bunk mate at all! Good job!” “That means you skipped lunch, which conserved valuable resources for the world! Praise!” “All the lines you’re not standing in are one person shorter! Well done!” 

Those are the typical responses you’d get if you were a member of a Kua Kua group. The trend was born on China’s college campuses, where the stress of graduate school entrance exams, job hunting, and impending graduation in China’s tense and competitive economic climate is wearing down students’ psyches. In Chinese, kua means to compliment or praise someone. The rule of Kua Kua groups is simple: If people share something that’s troubling them or tell the group about something they did or failed to do, the rest of the group showers that person with praise as creatively and heartfelt as possible. The groups aren’t only comforting, but also fun and imaginative; students will write poetry and integrate...

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