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Internet firms wage wars of virtual red envelops during Spring Festival to attract new users

(People's Daily Online)    17:24, February 12, 2019

(Photo/xiancn.com)

Chinese people’s mobile phones were hit by rains of virtual red envelops during the just-concluded Spring Festival holiday. A total of 4 billion yuan was sent out by internet firms including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, to attract internet traffic and build their own internet ecosystems.

Baidu, an exclusive cooperator of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the most-watched television show on the Chinese New Year’s Eve, provided a total of 1.9 billion yuan through digital red envelops.

Alibaba’s mobile payment service provider Alipay also distributed 500 million yuan.

However, it was not easy to get the monetary gift from the internet conglomerates. For instance, to receive red envelops from Baidu, the users had to install multiple applications produced by the company on their mobile phones, and finish certain tasks which normally required them to attract new users.

Mobile applications offering virtual red envelops, such as Baidu, short-video social network Douyin, and social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu had all surged to the top of the most-downloaded list on Apple App Store.

According to data released by Baidu, the company had had 20.8 billion interactions with the Spring Festival Gala audiences by 12:00 pm, Feb. 4.

Apart from Alibaba and Tencent, the two biggest players of the red envelop games in the previous years, short video platforms including Douyin, Kuaishou, and Weishi also joined the competition.

It is noteworthy that users could directly withdraw the money in the red envelops through the bank cards they bound in the respective platforms, rather than the previous routine – to get the money through Tencent’s WeChat Pay or Alibaba’s Alipay.

These short video platforms were in desperate need of internet traffic. Through red envelops, they managed to attract users to transfer social networks.

Ren Xuehong, a specialist from Suning Institute of Finance, noted that both WeChat and Douyin had made outstanding marketing performance in the previous Spring Festival seasons. For payment organizations, red envelop games were also able to increase the number of users binding bank cards, he added.

Short video platforms have grown into the second largest mobile internet industry in terms of utility time, only after instant messaging, said the 2018 China Mobile Internet Report recently published by Quest Mobile, a leading big data service provider in China's mobile internet market.

Short video platforms featuring social function is becoming the next big thing. It was indicated by statistics from the third-party data mining and analysis organization iiMedia Research that nearly 40 percent of internet users were willing to replace verbal communication with short videos. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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