Tencent sees record digital red envelope exchange during Lunar New Year

From Feb 7 to 12, red envelopes were sent and received about 32.1 billion times via Tencent's instant messaging app WeChat.
From Feb 7 to 12, red envelopes were sent and received about 32.1 billion times via Tencent's instant messaging app WeChat.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHENZHEN - Chinese internet giant Tencent saw a record high number digital red envelopes, or cash gifts, exchanged during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, Xinhua news agency reported

From Feb 7 to 12, red envelopes were sent and received about 32.1 billion times via Tencent's popular instant messaging app WeChat, nearly 10 times the number recorded last year, China's state-run news agency reported.

Traditionally, Chinese people hand out red envelopes filled with money, known as hongbao, to friends and relatives during the Lunar New Year festival. Tapping into the tradition, Internet firms including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and Sina Weibo enabled users to send and snatch cyber red envelopes on their smartphones.

Tencent's statistics showed 516 million people participated in exchanging red envelopes this year. People born after 1990 sent nearly 2.6 billion red envelopes, the largest number among all age groups, according to Xinhua.

People in south China's Guangdong Province were the most generous distributors among all provinces, with Beijing among all cities, Xinhua reported.