Chinese New Year Tradition Goes Mobile

Published on Author haj18

Giving “Hongbao”, a red envelope with cash, is one of Chinese Lunar New year Tradition among family members and friends. Tencent, a developer of leading social meadia app in China, launched a holiday special add-on service via its messaging app WeChat allowing its users to exchange electronic hongbao with its payment system. The element of success not only lies in convenience and simplicity of e-commerce which saves time of users but also lies in its timely introduction.

China’s economy grew at its lowest pace in almost a quarter of a century last year. Therefore, even though Lunar New Year is one of the country’s most festive season of the year, Chinese characteristic fond of exchanging Hongbao seems becoming less festive. However, through Tencent’s new service, users can have less burden because the sum of money they wire can be low as 1 yuan. Moreover, it conveniently distributes the sum to between friends by letting lady luck to decide who gets the most. Because Chinese place a great deal of importance on the concept of gaining and losing “Face,” or Mianzi, the service targets the majority of Chinese who would want to keep tradition and their Mianzi at the same time. In fact, nearly 60 percent of main landers responded that they prefer receiving Hongbao electronically.

Even though China’s Lunar New Year has been the high point of work life but the combination of Beijing’s austerity campaign and the country’s economic slowdown left many people in no mood to be festive. Tencent’s new service might encourage people to engage in their long-held tradition with less financial burden.

Source: CNBC

2 Responses to Chinese New Year Tradition Goes Mobile

  1. What a brilliant app to harness an ancient tradition (Hongbao) and a deeply embedded cultural norm (saving Face) and combine these with the rising need for social connectivity and the convenience of e-commerce. As global app usage continues to rise and China becomes consumption increases, I can see this add-on contributing to Tencent’s bottom line. One disadvantage to this add-on is that it is seasonal. Maybe Tencent could consider morphing this into a Venmo type app where people can exchange funds between their personal accounts.

  2. Note that cell phones are much more central to life in China than here. Do you routinely send money using your cell phone? Do e-retailers maintain cell-phone-only sites to make shopping on the go easier? In the background is that this is the way in which most Chinese access the internet; they may not have good land lines for ADSL much less fiber optic connections.