The data is in. Tencent’s WeChat and QQ messaging apps plus Alibaba’s Taobao and affiliate Ant Financial’s Alipay inevitably having huge new digital hongbao figures to report. This year’s reports also show strong trends for fitness, mini games and the use of hongbao abroad. Alibaba put themselves on the TV by cooperating with the state-run—and this year globally controversial—CCTV Spring Festival Gala. It’s clear that hongbao are the carrots being used to influence behavior.

QQ–the young person’s messaging app–ran a fitness tracking promotion. Over 210 million people took part during the first three days of the Chinese New Year (16 to 18 February). QQ Sport users could enter the prize draw for every hundred steps they took. The daily prize draw was worth RMB 200 million in cash and RMB 4 billion in vouchers.

QQ’s figures reveal that over 1.79 billion hongbao were sent out via the promotion. Those born in the 1990s had the highest daily step average at 5,443 steps for the three-day period, snapping up over 70% of the prizes. Users born after 2000 were next with an average of 5,391 steps. 1980s babies were the laziest at 5,178 steps. The national average was 5,347 steps per day, though Chongqing’s QQ users were the widest roaming, clocking up an average of 6,397 steps.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...