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Chinese people used to be focused on eating dumplings and watching the CCTV Spring Festival Gala on Lunar New Year's eve. But a new trend occupied their time Wednesday evening.

 

Hundreds of millions of people were busy shaking their cell phones, trying to grab as many digital red envelopes as they could. Red envelopes, or hongbao, filled with cash are usually given during holidays like Lunar New Year. The internet giants Tencent and Alibaba got in on the tradition this year giving cell phone users a way to send digital hongbao.

 

The companies also offered opportunities for users to grab the envelopes by shaking their phones. On New Year's eve, there were 1.7 billion hongbao exchanges through Tencent's WeChat and Alibaba's Alipay.

 

And the virtual red-envelopes were even part of the Gala show. Once the game was announced during the live broadcast, TV viewers got busy shaking their phones. During the five-hour show, WeChat users shook their phones 11 billion times. At one point 13.5 million people were shaking their cell phones.

 

Alipay data shows that 4 billion yuan, about 640 million US dollars, was exchanged Wednesday. Due to the popularity of digital hongbao exchanged, many Chinese now joke that Alipay and Tencent workers have never had New Year's eve off.



    Editor:Annabelle | Source: Agencies

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