More and more Chinese people have followed the fashion of giving out digital "red envelopes," cash gifts exchanged through a smartphone app, to friends and relatives while celebrating the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese lunar New Year.
A survey conducted by United Overseas Bank (UOB) showed that three quarters of Chinese people plan to give out their "red envelopes" through their smartphones during the Spring Festival holidays, China Youth Daily reported.
And the reason for the increasing popularity of the digital "red envelope" over the traditional ones is because of the freshness, fun and convenience it brings, the survey shows.
Lately, updates to Tencent's QQ and Alipay, two popular apps in China, have added to the fun people can experience while giving out and grabbing the digital "red envelope." With the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) technology, grabbing the digital "red envelope" through these two apps will be similar to playing the game Pokemon Go.
In the meantime, another survey by Rong360, an online financing platform, has shown some worrying results. It said nearly 21 percent of the people surveyed said they used to be at odds with their friends or relatives because of digital "red envelopes." Nearly 20 percent of the people surveyed said that the atmosphere of New Year celebrations was affected with family members busily grabbing "red envelopes" through the phones.
The Rong360 survey also showed that 46 percent of those surveyed said they had given out "red envelopes" just to get people to praise or forward their postings on social media like WeChat or Weibo. But over 29 percent of people said that they will just ignore these digital "red envelopes".
The giving of red envelopes on occasions like Chinese New Year is a tradition among the Chinese people. Typically, older members of the family give the red envelopes to the children in the family to celebrate lunar New Year.
WeChat daily active users top 768 million
The usage of popular messaging app WeChat continues to expand, with the number of daily users exceeding 768 million in September, up 35 percent over the same period last year, according to a year-end report on WeChat released by the Chinese technology giant Tencent on Wednesday.
The report, which unveiled a series of key figures of the most popular messaging app in China, said 50 percent of WeChat users spent 90 minutes on the application every day.
Typical WeChat users are those born in the 1980s and 1990s, accounting for 65 percent of the overall users, and have sent 80 percent of the total messages.
Youngsters aged between 17 and 21, and seniors over 55 years, are responsible 14 percent and 1 percent of overall population on the app, according to the report.
Overall messages sent through the app in 2016 surged by 67 percent over last year. Typical WeChat users sent 74 messages on the daily basis, while seniors over 55 years sent 44 messages every day.
The use of voice chat and video chat functions on WeChat reached 100 million daily calls this year, up 180 percent from 2015.
The report said typical WeChat users walked 5,900 steps daily, while seniors above 55 walked 6,700. WeChat users sent out on average of 28 "red envelopes" on the app every month, with an average amount of 580 yuan ($83).
Tencent will launch Wechat Payment in Japan for overseas deployment
It is reported that China’s Tencent Holding will launch a payment service based on smartphones comprehensively in Japan. There are 300 million people in China using Tencent’s payment app. Wechat plans to make Japanese stores which support this payment service increase to ten thousand in 2016, so as to improve the convenience for Chinese tourists to visit Japan. As for the payment service for Japan-bound Chinese visitor, the UnionPay took up the mainstream before. However, as the mobile payment is getting popular, the consumption of Japan-bound visitor will be promoted.
Wechat will increase the stores in Japan that support Tencent’s payment service “Wechat Payment”. “Wechat” is a chatting software that has 760 million users. As one of this software services, “Wechat” is applied in more than 300 thousand stores in China. In Japan, Wechat will cooperate with Hottolink who engages in Japan-bound visitor praise analysis business, so as to push the retail stores to introduce Wechat payment.
Chinese Japan-bound visitors used to do shopping with UnionPay cards. However, as Tencent is launching the payment service in Japna comprehensively, Chinese consumers have more payment choices in Japan. Wechat will increase the stores that support Wechat Payment to 20 thousand as soon as possible, said Huang Li, Wechat Payment’s operation director.
In order to replay the increase of Chinese outbound consumers, Tencent is expanding the support range in overseas market. Now it has explored businesses in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. In the future, it plans to strengthen business basis in Japan where there are many Chinese visitors enjoying shopping and huge payment demands, so as to speed up the exploration of overseas market.