Based in Henan, Shaolin Temple may be the most commercialized temple in the world. It owns nine subsidiaries in industries such as movies, food and pharmaceuticals.
Next up: a martial arts mobile game.
Martial arts master Shi Yanyong and a group of apprentices attended a forum by Alibaba last week. They performed martial arts before the attendees but their main purpose was to learn how to develop mobile games, according to Huxiu.com.
The mobile game will help the temple promote Shaolin kung fu in an interactive way. The game will integrate Shaolin techniques using sword, cane and knife. Ideally, gamers could learn Shaolin kung fu without leaving home.
The idea is the brainchild of abbot Shi Yongxin, dubbed the “CEO monk” for his business savvy. He loves technology so much he has had the whole temple on wi-fi. All monks are equipped with smartphones.
Shi visited Apple and Google in March and met with Apple chief executive Tim Cook. He was also one of the first to try Google Glass.
The temple has its own Sina Weibo and Weixin accounts and Shi hopes the temple could use the internet to open the path to Buddhism.
Shaolin Temple has global ambitions. In 2009, Shi tried to list it on the stock market but Chinese regulators killed the plan at the last minute.
But at the rate it’s going, only time will tell when the 1,500-year-old martial art will come of age in the digital world.
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