WeChat: Chinese New Year with Gamification Revolution

SHENZHEN – Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a time of traditions, celebration and togetherness. However, in recent years, digitalization has introduced a new dimension to this centuries-old celebration. Chinese tech companies have taken the practice of giving away red envelopes containing money and turned it into an exciting, modern experience.

The birth of Super Apps

The 2010s saw the emergence of super apps like Alipay and WeChat that were much more than just messaging platforms. They enabled digital transactions, offered mini-programs and created an entire ecosystem for their users. WeChat, often referred to as “Chinese WhatsApp,” went one step further. Here are some unique aspects of WeChat:

1. Mini Programs: These small apps within WeChat do not require a separate download. Users can open and use them directly. Brands use mini-programs to have interactive conversations with their customers.
2. WeChat Broadcast: This long-form article format is highly interactive and creative. It allows the use of GIFs, videos and side-scrolling. If users have to rotate their phone to see the content, it will be better remembered.

WeChat’s Gamification Revolution

WeChat has taken the traditional custom of giving away money during Chinese New Year and transformed it into an exciting digital experience. Here are some notable examples:

Rimowa’s Interstellar Avatar Campaign: Rimowa used the New Year festival to promote their Interstellar collection. Users could create personalized New Year greeting cards by selecting their planet (Mars or Mercury), gender, background, accessories, and suitcase. The cards also included goals for happiness and health.
Social Interaction: Users were encouraged to invite their friends to “explore the planets.” Personalization allows users to create content, not just consume it. Sharing the cards with others was particularly attractive.

Billions of interactions: During the Spring Festival Gala, WeChat distributed red packets worth over $80 million. Users had to shake their phone to participate in the distribution. This led to billions of interactions and set the trend for other companies to launch similar promotions.

Digitalization has transformed Chinese New Year and revolutionized the way people interact with each other. WeChat has taken the traditional custom and transformed it into a modern, exciting experience that both generates revenue and expands the user base. It’s an example of how technology and tradition can go hand in hand to create something new and exciting. (hz)