One of the most exciting things during Chinese New Year is receiving red envelopes from your family member. Red envelopes, also called hongbao, are money wrapped in red packets given out as a custom during Chinese New Year. Because Chinese people believe the color red is a symbol for good luck, energy, and happiness, red envelopes are used. Kids usually receive these from older family members after wishing the family members health and good luck. In return, red envelopes of money are given out in hope to bring the receivers good luck and happiness.
WeChat launched the Red Envelope feature in January 2014, allowing users to send virtual envelopes of money to each other. After linking their bank accounts to the app, users can send specified amounts of money to their WeChat contacts through a personal message. Receivers then can transfer the funds back into their own bank accounts.
Since WeChat launched the red envelope feature, traditional physical red envelopes are gradually being replaced by electronic red envelopes.
8 Billion Red Envelopes Were Exchanged
There were 8 billion virtual red envelopes exchanged by 420 million users on Chinese New Year?s Eve compared to 1 billion on last New Year?s Eve. About 409,000 red envelopes were sent through WeChat in a single second, right after the midnight fireworks celebration started.
Money Amounts Were Randomized
If you used WeChat red envelopes, WeChat randomized the amount dispersed among your gift recipients and then showed who got the most after they opened up their envelopes. The last thing I would want is to open a red envelope and the money’s all gone?or only receiving 0.01RMB while others get much more than me. Still, it won?t stop me from fighting for more!
Red Envelopes Were Wiped Out Within Seconds
Typically people will send out red envelopes to their WeChat groups on special occasions, with Chinese New Year being the biggest! WeChat users continuously jumped around different groups waiting for their red envelopes. Each single red envelope was wiped out within just a few seconds.
BaiNian Red Envelopes
There is a brand new feature in WeChat called BaiNian Red Envelopes (BaiNian in Chinese means ?give new year?s greetings?.)
Once you select the option to send BaiNian Red Envelopes, the system will pop up random amounts and you can choose which amount you want to send to people: 0.88RMB, 0.99RMB, 1.99RMB, 2.88RMB, 2.99RMB, 6.68RMB, 8.88RMB, 9.99RMB. All of these numbers represent lucky things in Chinese.
WeChat Red Envelopes Photo Campaign
In order to increase the excitement for red envelopes, WeChat launched Red Envelopes Photo Campaign which was only available within limited hours on Chinese New Year?s Eve.
Users post a photo on WeChat Moments and the photo will be blurred. Whoever wants to see the clear photo has to send a red envelope with a random amount to this person. There were over 29 million red envelope photos revealed during the limited time.
The advantage of WeChat red envelopes compared to traditional physical red envelopes is the amount you send out in WeChat doesn?t really matter. It?s the thoughts and engagement that count.
So where are my WeChat red envelopes? 🙂
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.