Taiwan megastar and singer-songwriter Jay Chou (周杰伦) has joined the ranks of Ashton Kutcher as a celebrity tech investor. His latest venture comes in the form of 31SMS, a mobile messaging application for iPhones and Android phones which he’s hoping his star appeal will help make a WhatsApp-killer, at least for the Greater China market.
31SMS explains its raison d’etre on its website:
The term Trinity came from an idea in the Bible about the combination of three entities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, into one being. Using the Trinity as our inspiration, we have coined this 3 in 1, or simply 31, in the name of our new application 31SMS. In this application we have developed a system for transmitting “Text, Pictures, and Video” to nearly any country you wish. You can use it to transmit God’s word, blessings to friends, and other good wishes.
Say what??? Okay, this not only sounds off the top crazy to us, but it’s also a poorly executed marketing idea. Plus, if we may put in a word for the good Lord himself, I don’t think he gave anybody the permission to use his name in your app.
Earlier this year, Chinese Christian websites (like this one) were abuzz with rumours of Jay Chou’s conversion to Christianity. He is also said to have completely given up participating in the prayer sessions which film and music crews in Taiwan and Hong Kong regularly hold before the start of each new project to invoke the blessings of the gods.
Back to the app itself, Technode editor Gang Lu tried it out and described it as “a very disappointing product”. Many others who have downloaded the app seem to agree too, judging from the user reviews they’ve left behind.
So here’s a hard truth for Jay Chou: If it’s a crappy app, no amount of slick marketing, star appeal or even God himself can save it.
Jay Chou’s video ad for 31SMS:
ChinaTimes on Jay Chou’s 31SMS venture: