The Lunar New Year (aka Spring Festival or 春节 chunjie) is upon us, and Chinese internet tycoons are poised to enter the latest showdown (in Chinese) in the recurring red envelope (红包 hongbao) war.
Tencent’s plan for instant messaging tool QQ combines the cash-giving tradition with fitness tracking, another popular feature. Like WeChat Sports, QQ can read motion-tracking data from your phone and with every 100 steps, users get a chance to draw their share of RMB 200 million (around $32 million) in cash and RMB 4 billion in virtual coupons. The principle is simple: the more you walk, the more benefits you can get.
Screenshots of QQ Hongbao (Image credit: Tencent)
In addition to maintaining the augmented reality hongbao campaign, Tencent’s rival Alibaba announced a partnership between its online marketplace Taobao and CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the largest entertainment show in China, to hand out RMB 600 million red envelopes and gifts to viewers during the gala.
To build up users’ expectations, Alipay is reportedly launching a gold hongbao feature, but it is still unclear how the new feature works. Alipay declined to comment on the issue when TechNode reached out for confirmation. Tencent has launched a gold hongbao feature on WeChat during last year’s spring festival holiday. It quickly went viral among users not only because many believe gold is a safe asset and but also because it’s part of the monetary gifts giving culture in China.
Screenshot of Alipay AR Hongbao (Image credit: TechNode)
China has undergone a drastic shift towards mobile payment in recent years. The country now has 531 million online payment users as of December 2017, of which 527 million are mobile payment users.