Mobile tech speeds holiday cash gifts

Mobile tech speeds holiday cash gifts
Screenshots show the app of Alipay Wallet, the mobile payment application backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The 2015 Lunar New Year has fully embraced mobile technology, with instant messaging platforms such as Tencent's multimillion-user app WeChat attracting most of the attention.

Even the much-anticipated annual China Central Television Spring Festival gala was broadcast in conjunction with WeChat on Lunar New Year's Eve.

As long as audience members shook their smartphones during the show, they stood a good chance of receiving WeChat red envelopes with cash gifts.

WeChat said it received 11 billion shakes during the show. The peak was reached at 10:34 pm, with WeChat reporting 810 million shakes a minute and 120 million red envelopes being sent out.

Smartphone users were also busy sending red envelopes to family members and friends included on their WeChat contacts list.

According to WeChat, more than 1 billion red envelopes were sent out on Lunar New Year's Eve, 200 times the amount sent last year.

Zhai Cuiwei, 32, a public relations account manager in Shanghai, said she had been bombarded with more than 100 instant messages during previous Lunar New Years, especially on Lunar New Year's Eve.

But she said these messages seem to have been given the cold shoulder this year.

"I received only five Lunar New Year instant messages this year, two of which were sent automatically by shops that I frequent. It seems that WeChat has grabbed most of the attention this year, with people using it to send both wishes and red envelopes," she said.

But observers have voiced fears of younger people becoming so obsessed with sending and receiving WeChat red envelopes that they will look at their phones continuously and forget to talk to their families.

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