Chinese residents no longer need to send cash to their friends and relatives during Chinese New Year, as mobile payment giant Alipay promotes itself as an alternative to the traditional Hongbao gift, an alternative that has proved to be well received.
In total, 4 billion Yuan ($640 million USD) was transacted through Alipay over the Lunar New Year period, the peak of Chinese money gifting, said Alipay on the company’s official Weibo account last Tuesday.
The average value of each transaction was 59 Yuan ($9.50 USD), with one man from Zhejiang province holding the record for an individual, sending some 64,520 gifts over the four day holiday, totalling 260,000 Yuan ($41,575 USD).
Alipay realised additional data related to senders and receivers of Hongbao e-gifts ,including that around half of all senders and receivers were born after 1990 and 40% being born between 1980 and 1989. They also revealed that residents of Shanghai opted to send Hongbao digitally more than in any other city in China, with Shanghai residents sending 10.4 million Hongbao gifts within the first two days of the Lunar new year.
The most popular values of Hongbao in China is 88 Yuan, 8.88 Yuan and 88.88 Yuan, as eight in Chinese is pronounced similarly to the word “rich”. There are other popular amounts that are so for similar reasons, including 5.20 Yuan which sounds like “I love you” and 12.14 Yuan, which sounds like “Be together forever”.
In addition to receiving Hongbao from friends and family, Alipay users in China were also on the lookout for companies and celebrities who got in on the act, sending gifts out at random to millions of Chinese consumers. For example Alipay founder Jack Ma sent out 999,999 Hongbao gifts, all of which were snapped up in less than 3 minutes.