Business / Technology

Libras lick contest for red e-envelopes

By MENG JING (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-25 09:07

Libras were the most generous among the 12 signs on the Western zodiac in terms of giving cash-filled red envelopes online, Alipay, the nation's most widely used online payment tool, said on Tuesday.

Alipay is a unit of Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

More than 100 million people in China got into the red-envelope game via Alipay during Spring Festival, which ends this week, with Libras giving the most online, the company said.

In the Chinese zodiac, the festival kicked off the Year of the Ram.

The top individual giver distributed 64,520 red envelopes online via Alipay, giving as much as 260,000 yuan ($41,600). But statistics from Alipay show that the average red e-envelope held just 59.1 yuan.

The marketing gimmick motivated mobile payment users living in areas ranging from Beijing and Shanghai to those in remote parts of the Tibet autonomous region.

Shanghai, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Beijing were the top three cities in the number of electronic red envelopes given via Alipay. But by value, Tianmen in Hubei province led the league with an average of 139 yuan per envelope followed by 97 yuan in Wenzhou, Zhejiang.

Despite Alipay's solid performance in the red envelope campaign, it has yet to secure a leading position in mobile payments. WeChat, the most widely used messaging app, which is owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd, teamed up with State-owned China Central Television to give out red envelopes during the Spring Festival gala.

Statistics from WeChat showed that its traffic peaked at 22:34 pm on the eve of Spring Festival on Feb 18, when its app received 810 million requests per minute from users seeking to send and receive red envelopes.

Wang Weidong, an analyst at iResearch Consulting Group, said it did not really matter which company won the red envelope competition, because different companies had different goals.

"For Alipay, the red envelope service was an opportunity to improve user loyalty during the festival. For WeChat, it was more about gaining new payment users," he said.

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