Millions of Chinese netizens grow addicted to producing virtual watermelons in new viral mobile game that attracted 40 million users in a week
Published: Feb 01, 2021 06:58 PM

Photo: VCG

"Attention: the game will eat your time up." 

A new mobile game has swept Chinese social media, attracting more than 40 million players within one week. Millions of Chinese netizens are now devoting almost all of their spare time to producing virtual watermelons.

Hechengdaxigua (lit: combine watermelon), which can be played on China's most popular messaging app WeChat, snuck into the trending list on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo at a time when netizens have been shocked by a number of celebrity scandals such as actress Zheng Shuang's surrogacy scandal and the illegitimate child of singer Hua Chenyu.

While the noise of these scandals has quieted down, the game has continued taking a place on Sina Weibo's trending chart as many of the platform's users are playing the game during their leisure time. 

The hashtag for the game had earned more than 1.68 billion views as of Sunday as Sina Weibo users are posting their scores to compare with other people.

The game has even given rise to a new popular greeting on Chinese social media: "How many watermelons did you combine today?"

In the game, various types of fruit will drop randomly from the top of the screen, the player then combines these together into a bigger fruit such as combining two oranges into a lemon. The goal of the player is to ultimately combine their increasingly larger fruit into watermelons which give the highest scores. 

Some celebrities have even admitted to playing the game. Dong Sicheng, a member of China-based boyband WayV, posted on social media after he earned his first watermelon and added a link to the game, arousing the interest of his overseas fans.

"It does get people addicted. You want to set new records and improve your score step by step. The game has no end," one white-collar worker surnamed Yang who works in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province, told the Global Times. She says she plays the game during breaks at work.

First launched on January 22, the game is being seen as the first big success of the year for the mobile game industry, according to a report from Netease.

As the game's popularity continues to broaden, the developer has also launched another similar game Hechengxiaozhima (lit: combining small sesame seeds). Some netizens who have played the new one have commented that they find it more interesting than producing watermelons.