Lunar New Year goes hi-tech, from AI couplets to digital lucky money

February 17, 2018
Industry News
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Amanda Lee
amanda.lee@scmp.com

With the world’s largest internet population and smartphone market, China has also the biggest app economy, enabling internet companies to stay engaged with users even during the festive holiday season.

The Lunar New Year, which started on Friday, not only marks a holiday travel season in China that is the world’s biggest annual mass migration of people, but also roaring demand for the latest apps to rouse the country’s vast internet population.

With the largest internet population and smartphone market in the world, China also the biggest app economy, according to recent estimates from analytics company App Annie.

It said China accounts for US$1 out of every US$4 generated globally across app stores, in-app advertisements and mobile e-commerce.

In the fourth quarter of last year, app users in China also spent more than 200 billion hours in apps. App Annie said that was more than 4.5 times the next largest market, India.

Major Chinese app providers – including Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu and Tencent Holdings – are expected to keep consumers engaged with viral campaigns to reinforce their brands, while millions of families gather for reunions across the country during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The following are the latest trendy apps that have engaged the country’s tech-savvy consumers during this festive season:

Digital red packets

Lunar New Year traditions for Chinese people include sending greetings and hongbao, the red packets filled with cash, to each other. Today, those activities have conveniently gone digital.

Both South China Morning Post owner Alibaba and Tencent, China’s dominant mobile payment service providers, have pledged to give away a combined 5.2 billion yuan (US$820 million) worth of digital red packets as part of their latest Lunar New Year marketing initiatives.

By having users “grab” virtual red packets online or through a promotion in a television show, internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent are betting that users will stay glued to the apps on their smartphones, while luring new customers with potential monetary rewards.

Augmented-reality filters for selfies

Tian Tian Pi Tu, which translates to “Photoshop Photos Every Day”, is an image-editing app from Tencent that now provides new Snapchat-style augmented reality filters meant for the Year of the Dog.

Launched in 2014, this app is targeted at teenage girls and young ladies who are given a choice of handy tools to remove blemishes and put on virtual make-up.

It recently introduced hair accessories and good-luck phrases, as well as singing and dancing dogs, for use in selfies, videos and animated GIFs sent over Tencent’s social media and messaging platforms QQ and WeChat. Continue Reading 



 
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