WeChat celebrated the 2014 Lunar New Year with a new take on Chinese red envelopes. During this holiday, millions of red envelopers are stuffed with cash and are exchanged as gifts with family members, friends and colleagues. But this year, WeChat added a new feature that allows users to send these envelopes of money virtually through WeChat. Givers must first link their WeChat account with an actual physical bank account and then transfer money to their WeChat contacts with a personal message and cash.
The amount of money handed out per transaction varied from a few cents to $16.50 USD. WeChat easily handled millions of dollars throughout the holiday season and profited on the handling fees of red envelopes. This shows that WeChat has a clear, effective way to monetize its user base. Allowing the distribution of cash through a smart phone app brings this gift-giving tradition to a new and innovative high.