Case study–Wechat’s hongbao campaign

by chuckgaowestminster


Last Saturday was the beginning of the celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year, with this being the year of the horse, which is one of the 12 Chinese zodiac –or Shēngxiào.

People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.C130N0023H_2014資料照片_N71_copy1

One of the best well-known customs that Chinese people does every Chinese New Year is sent red envelope, aka “hongbao” The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes are usually given out by married couples to single people, especially to children or work colleagues.

I feel apologize if so far I may left you a impression that this is a culture blog, however, the main protagonist of the campaign is a virtual “red envelope”.

Tencent’s (Chinese internet giant) social media platform WeChat has found a way to turn traditional seasonal practices digital, in order to raise number of users of Wechat and promote its payment system.

The lasts-3-days campaign created a buzz over almost every social media platform, it suddenly became hottest topic all over the China, and everyone was talking about it from Sina Weibo to New Year’s Eve dinner. Surprisingly, most of the comments were admiring and even in a slight state of awe at the big success of WeChat’s hongbao campaign, which lets users sending of money to friends and relatives in an electronic form of the cash-filled red envelopes typically given out this time of year, over the popular instant messaging platform. In a fun twist, users can select one friend to send an envelope to, or let the app randomly divide money between a group of friends, with only the first 20 people to open their envelope receiving the money.

The over-night success cannot live without the contribute of PR. So how did PR generate this buzz? The new version WeChat was released at 25th January, the first coverage can be found as “Wechat hongbao explode new year social ” from south metropolitan daily, after one day, different kinds article such as strategy and tips emerged on the Internet. The agenda successfully settled on 28th, taking advantage of Wechat’s communication character, the campaign promptly became no.1 topic on “pengyouquan” (Wechat community) and spread virally, then the over-night buzz was blast at 29th, the Chinese New Year’s EVE.

Tencent released campaign statistics on 31th January officially: As of New Year’s EVE, the total attendant user number was approximately 5 million, the peak was appear at 30th January 1 am; moment peak number: 250,000 red envelope was open. Tencent’s share prices also benefited from the new feature’s popularity, surging 11.05% in Hong Kong before the stock exchange there closed for the Chinese New Year holiday. Moreover, According to China Daily, the introduction of the app is rumoured to have led to over 100 million users to sign up to the WeChat payment service, although the figure has yet to be confirmed.

Credit to:

WeChat launches online ‘red envelope’ app for Chinese New Year:

Alibaba, Sina cast envious eyes on Tencent’s ‘Hongbao’: