It is rumored that some 200 million bank accounts were linked to WeChat over the 2015 Lunar New Year holidays (China’s most popular online payment service Alipay has over 300 million users). Though WeChat deny disclosing it, it’s believed a considerable number of users did so to send or receive lucky money.

All the participants in the 2015 Lunar New Year lucky money war -Tencent’s WeChat, Alibaba’s Alipay and Weibo (in which Alibaba has a stake, with its payment service supported by Alipay) – have released some impressive numbers. Alipay had had more than 100 million participants in the four days after New Year’s Eve. This was the second time Weibo tried digital lucky campaign during the Lunar New Year holiday, with the company seeing a 46% increase in active participants, reaching 102 million people on New Years Eve.

WeChat’s numbers are even more impressive than its two rivals, largely because its campaign launched on the Spring Festival Gala, the enormously popular New Year’s Eve show by state broadcaster CCTV. Lucky users of WeChat’s Shake feature at certain times during the show received digital Red Envelopes with randomly allocated money or e-coupons. WeChat users in 185 countries shook a total of 11 billion times, with 810 million at peak time, during the show. RMB500 million (roughly US$83m) worth of lucky money and e-coupons, from participating businesses such as JD.com, Huawei and Haier, were distributed that night.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com