“Red envelopes” not to fade away


BEIJING, Feb. 17 – “Red envelopes” are known as a long-standing fixture of Chinese Lunar Year celebrations whereby money is gifted, usually from adults to young relatives.

In recent years, China’s big online payment platforms have dragged the tradition into the 21st century by simply pressing couple of buttons on cell phone applications, defining traditional custom again.

According to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, mobile payments have grown very strongly, with turnover soaring by 134 percent year on year to RMB 22.59 trillion in 2014.

As the Lunar Year approaches, three major Internet companies Alibaba, Sina and Tencent have announced promotional events in which users have a chance to win “red envelopes full of cash and coupons”.

In fact in 2014, this type of campaign debuted during Chinese Lunar Year with Tencent’s widely used messaging application WeChat  proven to be a huge success.

This year, the three companies have all increased the leverages, determining to conquer the market.

Alibaba’s Alipay, for instance, has offered RMB 600 million, including “cash-filled envelopes and envelopes with online shopping coupons.” It also has offered up to 50 percent discounts for those who shop in its brick-and-mortar partners’ outlets in South Korea, Thailand and Singapore during the holiday.

To Alibaba’s competitive tactics, Tencent fires back with its own RMB 800 million offering via its app store as well as WeChat promotions.

Also, Sina’s Weibo provides gift money to subscribers who follow the Weibo account of celebrities, enterprises and media, and participate in its online activities before a certain time.

As can be noticed, the campaigns are typical strategies for the mobile payment platforms. It is now undoubtedly becoming a must-have feature to attract new mobile payment users.

Yet problems occur when Alipay’s campaign has driven negative public opinions. Complains ranged from the confused to the incensed, with most of them being negative. The public is grumbling about the size of some prizes, saying that the true value is so low that it cannot contribute much to their daily purchases.

In addition, some are complaining about the designing of the game. When the game begins, users flood into its site. But they have to move quickly enough as there are 30 seconds’ time limit. Even if they click off all the red envelopes, most users will be notified that they have not won a thing.

Nevertheless, in spite of anger and skepticism the platforms giveaway has won many users and truly brought considerably huge visibility to the brands.

Customers are happy to see positive changes that integrate traditional life style with modern payments technology. It is for sure that commercial campaigns like the red envelopes will not fade away from people’s eyes any time soon.

At this matter, companies are required to provide what customers potentially need and not breach the law or have a negative impact on the market. (Xinhuanet)