For Chinese people, Spring Festival is all about seeing family and celebrating the new year, but it’s also the optimal time for using screens. Have you ever been on a train for 20+ hours? In China you’ll find, from little kids to 60-year-olds, everyone is using their smartphones. Surely, to kill time, content is king in China.

During the Spring Festival, from February 15th to 21st, the number of app users in three segments—mobile games, photo app, and mobile video app—increased significantly, according to QuestMobile’s “2018 Spring Festival Entertainment Insights Report,” Chinese media CSDN is reporting.

The report pointed out that Chinese people have both online and offline ways to enjoy Spring Festival. Online was mobile games and video; offline was watching movies.

Top 20 apps that shows biggest daily active user increase during Spring festival (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

Spring Festival’s top 5 apps based on the number of daily active users were:

  1. Honour of Kings – 128 million
  2. Douyin short video – 61 million
  3. Huashan short video – 53 million
  4. Toutiao – 97 million
  5. Youku – 83 million
Top 20 apps that showed the biggest DAU increase during the Spring Festival. Top 5 (from left to right): Mini World, Douyin, Honour of Kings, FaceU, and Wuta Cam (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

Top 20 apps that showed the biggest DAU increase during the Spring Festival included: Mini World that showed whopping 116% increase in DAU, Douyin short video (78%), Honour of Kings (76%), Faceu (69%), and Wuta Cam (64%).

Mobile games

The number of daily active users from different genres of games during Spring Festival. Honour of Kings on the left; Mini World on the right (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

Playing mobile games (手游) is one of the major leisure and entertainment activities of the Spring Festival. Apps encouraging social interaction saw amazing growth. During the Spring Festival, mobile games with social attributes such as the Tencent’s Honour of Kings—already boasting 200 million users—and Speed QQ (QQ飞车) saw some amazing increases in use. Games showed significant increase as Mini World that showed whopping 116% increase in DAU while Honour of Kings showed 78% increase in DAU.

Game live streaming market was less affected by the Spring Festival, and saw a small peak a week before New Year’s Eve.

Watching short videos

How many times short video apps were opened from Feb 1st to 21st. Kuaishou in yellow; Douyin in orange; Huoshan in blue; Xigua in grey (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

Number of users watching short videos during the Spring Festival also increased. Having to move long distances, and loving to share videos, Chinese people are increasingly watching short videos over live streaming.

China’s three major telecoms companies reduced data fees over the holiday, allowing short video apps to grow even further. Users watched and shared short videos of wishing “Happy New Year,” hongbao, and short videos from Spring Festival Gala. Popular short video apps saw user numbers peaking up around New Year’s Eve. Kuaishou (快手) users opened the app 161,929 times on February 16th, and Douyin (抖音) users opened the app 134,253 times on February 14th.

Another trend in was watching anime or reading manga on mobile phone. In the New Year ‘s Eve, both the total number and the app usage duration of mobile anime apps increased. After the New Year’s Eve, users of mobile anime app users dropped over a long period of time and then picked up rapidly to reach new highs.

Photo apps

Daily active user numbers on photo apps from Feb 1st to 21st. FaceU in yellow; Meitu in orange; Meiyan in blue; Tiantian in grey (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

During the Spring Festival, all the photo apps had their own photo contests, giving a small boost to the platforms on New Year’s Eve and Day. On February 19th,  Toutiao announced the acquisition of Faceu (Chinese). Faceu recorded the most DAU with 2,892 DAU at its peak, followed by Meitu Xiuxiu’s DAU of 2,622.

Watching movies

Active user numbers on movie ticket booking apps from Feb 1st to 21st. Taopiaopiao in yellow; Maoyan in orange; Migu in blue. (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

When not looking at a mobile phone screen, Chinese people filled the movie theaters during Spring Festival with movie ticket booking apps saw a significant increase. Six high-quality movies were released on this year’s Spring Festival, including “Red Sea Campaign (红海行动, our translation)” and popular children’s cartoon “Monster Hunt 2 (捉妖记 2)”. During the Spring Festival, the daily active users of Alibaba’s ticket-buying Taopiaopiao (淘票票)  and Meituan’s movie ticket unicorn Maoyan (猫眼) almost doubled.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at

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