How did WeChat win this year’s Spring Festival battle without lifting a finger? According to Tencent’s Penguin Intelligence, it was product design fueled by 4 years of user habituation.

On Feb 15, Tencent’s Penguin Intelligence launched an online course covering recent trends in China’s hongbao wars. With major players such as Alipay, WeChat, and QQ all getting into the mix, there is a lot of activity and innovation as these platforms compete for buzz, market share, and, above all else, habituated users.

For RMB 9.99 (US$ 1.46), users get three classes that serve as an in-depth supplement to their recent report on trends in mobile hongbao services. Covering product design, marketing, and financial services, the course provides an accessible, and digestible (each class is only 15 minutes), information about not only how digital hongbao got to be so popular, but also emerging trends including AR.

For anyone operating a digital business, their first class contains good reminders about how to develop your product: release then iterate, make a product that directly addresses competitors weaknesses, and make sure it works the way people want.

With the release of the hongbao class, Penguin Intelligence is following their own advice.

“Our readers kept asking us to hear a breakdown of the report from the authors and analysts,” says Wang Guan, manager of Penguin Intelligence. “To this end, along with this year’s Spring Festival hongbao report, we also released a course that also integrates previous research.”

Started in 2014 as a response to the increasing speed of the news and information cycle, and the related decreasing quality and context surrounding it, Penguin Intelligence regularly publishes in-depth reports on the latest trends. Leveraging Tencent’s internal data and their own analysis tools, Penguin Intelligence has so far published more than 300 reports ranging from WeChat and social media to trends in user behavior and demographics.

Along with China Tech Insights, who publishes research in English, Penguin Intelligence is one of many research units in Tencent, however, they tend to produce research that is more accessible and appealing to startups, entrepreneurs, and China tech watchers.

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...