A temple in southern Taiwan is to expand its already popular online divination service to a smartphone application next year, with the aim of making the 100-year-old temple better-known among netizens from home and abroad.
“With the increasing popularity of smartphones, we will launch our own divination app next year,” said Hung Yang-chen (洪揚程), Web site designer for the Jhen Hai Temple (鎮海宮) in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港).
The Chinese-language app will first be made available on Apple’s iOS platform and later on the Android operating system, Hung said, adding that an English version will also be launched in the near future.
Although the app is not yet available, people can already use the service online, in both Chinese and English, Hung said.
Hung, 32, said the idea of setting up a Web site for the temple came from his father, Hung Chuan-jei (洪全瑞), the temple’s chief director.
“My father wanted to attract more people,” he said.
Since the launch of the online service in 2005, the number of visitors to the temple has increased by about 30 percent, he said.
In order to provide better services to international followers, the temple created an English version of its Web site in September 2010, said Hung Chuan-jei.
Seeking advice from an oracle is a traditional Taoist way of making decisions on everything from love and health to career and family, he added.
The Web site currently gets about 3,000 visits a day, mainly for its divination services, Hung Yang-chen said.
Visitor numbers are increasing, which is why the temple wants to launch the smartphone app, he added.
International visitors, including those from the US, China, Australia, Canada and Japan, account for 6 percent to 8 percent of number of visits to the Web site, he said.