Tech helps new generation enjoy traditional holiday
Chinese consumers have adopted new means to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the digital age, with Internet companies reporting robust growth in user interaction during the seven-day holiday.
More than 768 million WeChat users sent out or received virtual red envelopes during the holiday, a 10 percent increase over the previous year, Tencent said.
Guangdong, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces rank in the top positions in terms of the total number of digital red envelopes sent and received.
Alibaba's consumer retail site, Taobao, partnered with China Central Television Station's Spring Festival Gala for the first time this year, allowing interaction with 100 million consumers from 212 countries and regions as they watched the show.
Its payment affiliate, Alipay, said 251 million people participated in their campaign and collected the five “virtual lucky signs” needed to enter a lucky draw on New Year's Eve. Last year 167 million users took part.
On New Year's Eve, a total of 166 million QQ users shared their daily walking distances through the social network and won a total of 609 million virtual red packages. On the first three days of the week-long holiday, a total of 210 million QQ users participated, receiving 1.79 billion red envelopes. Their combined walking distance reached 2.24 billion kilometers.
Alibaba's Tmall Global sector said the transaction size of imported fresh food over the holiday period increased three times from the same period a year ago, with cherries, king crabs, Boston lobsters, and New Zealand orange roughy among the most popular goods.
In Shanghai, family dinners on lunar New Year's Eve were almost fully booked at some famous restaurants. According to Alibaba's lifestyle services affiliate Koubei, the average cost of New Year's Eve dinner in Shanghai rose 22 percent from a year ago.
When it comes to traveling, Alibaba's online service site, Fliggy, said Shanghai saw the most outbound travelers during the week-long holiday, followed by Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
Duan Baolin, vice director of China Folklore Society and a professor at Peking University, said that new means of celebrating the Chinese New Year helps a new generation gain a better understanding of Chinese and traditional folklore, which have also evolved and adopted new formats under the new era.