Mastering CNY lucky money on WeChat and Alipay

Thomas Graziani New WeChat features

It’s the time of the year where Chinese tech companies go head to head with red envelope/lucky money/hong bao campaigns to win over netizens across the country. Last year we saw Tencent and WeChat team up with CCTV’s Chinese New Year Gala that brought in many “shakes” into the new lunar year. This year the partnerships have shifted to Alipay and campaign’s from all sides have launched and are ramping up for the new year.


Shake it up!

The most iconic feature of Chinese new year is most likely the “shake” feature enabling users to win money by shaking their phones. WeChat announced their “make it rain” hongbao times for CNY eve (除夕) and expect big numbers.


Shake times:

  • 12:30
  • 19:50
  • 21:30
  • 22:30

*Wechat mentions that these times won’t be the only “shake times” you’ll encounter, you might have to give up on sleep!

To participate you should have the following set up:

  • Latest version of WeChat updated on iOS and Android
  • Shake feature enabled. This can be done in your settings within WeChat.
  • Change your WeChat local language to Chinese (uh-oh)
  • iOS users change their phone settings to China Region (Settings > General > Language & Region > Region)

Lucky Money Photos: Earlier last week, WeChat tested out a new feature to view moments. It’s basically Pay-Per-View for the pictures and sights you publish. Content distributed ranged in naughty to nice and stirred conversations on why WeChat would test this feature out.

Feb 7th (17:00) – 8th (1:00) WeChat will bring back this feature by randomly selecting users to post Hongbao Photos. After you receive the notification, you have 1 hour to post. If you miss the chance or haven’t received it, you can “Shake” every hour to test your luck.

Note: You can turn this feature off in moments if you aren’t interested in Chinese New Year Lucky Money Photos. Photos will automatically turn into private photos after the event is over.

Personal Photo Lucky Money: WeChat made sending Lucky Money more personal by attaching a personal photo to the envelope. The amount you send is pre-set by WeChat and includes a friendly new years message. This feature only works in one-to-one messages and is not applicable in group chats. 



Press the button to Xiu Xiu Xiu~ (咻一咻)

Alipay purchased the right of collaborating with the Spring Festival Gala (for 269 million RMB).  It introduced a campaign where you can press a button during the Gala to get a chance to win more than 400million RMB.  This is also an incentive for higher views for the Spring Festival Gala. Here is the estimated schedule for the times to win red envelopes. (Specific time depends on the cue from the gala host) 


Xiu Xiu Xiu times:

  • 20:36 (>RMB 100 million)
  • 21:05  (>RMB 100 million)
  • 22:12  (>RMB 100 million)
  • 23:11   (>RMB 100 million)

5 Happiness Hong Bao (五福红包):

Alipay has come up with a creative challenge to collect Happiness Cards to have a lucky draw of the 215 million RMB giveaway!

How does it work?

There are 5 different types of happiness cards on AliPay wallet. You need to have all 5 types of happiness cards in order to get your share of the 215 million RMB which will be given away at the midnight of Feb 7th.

How to get Happiness Cards (福卡)

  • Download AliPay APP and link a bank card by scanning it.
  • Get 3 cards upfront by adding 10 new friends to Alipay (支付宝).
  • Use the 咻一咻 (Press a button) function of the APP to receive money or a Happiness Card. The APP will give you hints to let you know when is your next chance to become a lucky winner!
  • Ask friends to send over some Happiness cards. If you’ve collected an excess of Happiness Cards, you can send over to friends in need!



Two giants put up large numbers for user engagement during the festive CNY eve day. Whether you’re spending this day with your family, friends or at home alone, don’t forget to shake for some free money that can eventually be used to buy things via or Taobao. Happy Chinese New Year from the WalkTheChat team and happy shaking into the Year of the Monkey!

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