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WeChat China Weibo

WeChat had more mobile transactions over just Chinese New Year than PayPal had during 2015


By Charlotte McEleny | Asia Editor

February 9, 2016 | 3 min read

The scale of social and messaging platforms in China is at its peak on Chinese New Year, as statistics on usage of platforms such as WeChat and Weibo reveal.

According to WeChat, owned by digital media business Tencent, 420 million people sent each other lucky money via the app’s payment service on the eve of Chinese New Year. According to WeChat, it has seen a total of 8.08 billion red envelopes sent so far for Chinese New Year, eight times more than last year.

To put this into context, according to PayPal it made 4.9 billion transactions in 2015 (half of the number of transactions made on WeChat just for Chinese New Year) and only 28 per cent were made on a mobile device.

Similarly, Chinese social network Weibo released figures showing that 134 million active users logged on during the eve of Chinese New Year, with 100 million receiving lucky money digital envelopes via the platform.

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is also in on the lucky red envelope trick but has not yet released any statistics around Chinese New Year.

The lunar new year festivities spread to the UK this year, with many foreign brands taking to the streets and online to help people celebrate. But it is the digital channels that are changing the shape of celebrations in Asia.

According to the data from Tencent, women were more generous as 56.5 per cent of senders were female.

One significant difference in the digital version of the tradition seems to be the amount being sent. The statistics revealed that the most popular amount gifted was RMB 8.88 ($1.35), (eight is a lucky number). This is a lot lower than would be gifted in envelopes in person and is likely to be a lot lower than the average transaction amount on a platform like PayPal.

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