Shanghai entrepreneurs build digital tool to help people in need
Zhao Chenchen

"My father needs Reperidone for Alzheimers, but I couldn't get it from the market. Please help, many thanks." 

This post was listed as a "top emergency" on, a Craigslist-like information website that is being used by Shanghai residents. Hours later, the listing was marked as resolved.

As of 6:00 p.m., April 15, the website showed 3,840 people were seeking help through listings, with 4 percent of them resolved and 56 percent in a follow-up stage. 

Meanwhile, some 200 volunteers are communicating in a dedicated WeChat group to verify the information in posts, follow up, and assist for resource matching.

People list their needs in categories on the service website. /

People list their needs in categories on the service website. /

The website, nicknamed "Let us help you," was first launched on April 6 by several local entrepreneurs who've had dot-com entrepreneurship experience. 

Ever since Shanghai went into the closed-off management to curb COVID-19, a number of people have created online documents for those seeking medical resources, bulk purchases and distribution coordination. Noticing that these online documents often went beyond their capacity of hosting access, which resulted in delays of information to those in need, the website kickstarter Liu Sitan came up with an idea for building a reliable and de-centralized website that allowed people to post their need in categories.

"I had a website that used to provide information services and has gone through the ICP filing," Liu told CGTN, "and I thought it was easy and more reasonable to just change that website to help more people."

The website is for non-profit listing of emergency needs only, and does not accept donations of any form, according to the founding team member Qi Bao. The team has expressed their concerns over privacy protection and information verification.

"Lacking professional volunteers is one of our major difficulties right now," said Qi. "We really need hands to help verify those listings. It's unavoidable to see some fake information up there, so please be cautious when it comes to money transactions."

The team has tried to optimize user experience through pop-up windows that alert people about information verification. They are also planning to launch an English version soon. 

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