Giving monetary gift through WeChat, China's major instant messaging app, has become a popular holiday custom, with people born in the 1980's being the most active group, according to latest data of WeChat.
On Friday alone, the eve of 2017 lunar new year, a record of some 14.2 billion electronic hongbaos, or red packets containing gift money, were given and received, according to WeChat, which is operated by Tencent.
Those who were born in the 1980s have sent and received the most red packets last year compared to those born in the 1990s and 1970s.
WeChat data also showed that men tend to give out more hongbaos than women. Geographically, people in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan lead in giving and receiving red packets.
It is a tradition of Chinese to give hongbao to friends and relatives during Spring Festival. Nowadays, Valentine's Day, Father's Day and other local festivals are also the peak times for red packets.
This year, new forms of red packets such as "face-to-face and AR red packets" were adopted. Lin Yuwen, a Beijing resident, said he distributed red packets totaling 1,200 yuan (175 U.S. dollars) on Friday, almost double the amount last year.
Analysts say the electronic red packets are used by Internet giants to expand their shares in the mobile payment market.