Alipay claims mobile transactions hit $640 million during CNY

Alipay, the e-payment arm of Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group, announced on Tuesday that more than 100 million people participated in sending lucky money, or Hongbao in Chinese, via mobile apps during the past Chinese New Year holiday.

Chinese residents no longer need to send paper cash to their relatives or friends as greetings during Chinese New Year (CNY), as a click on the mobile Alipay will enable them to do so. The new trick to the traditional custom seems have been well accepted after the technology giant revealed results on Tuesday.

A total of 4 billion yuan ($640 million) was transacted via Alipay during the period from last Wednesday, or Lunar New Year eve, to Saturday, which was regarded as the peak time for Chinese money gifting, Alipay said on its official Weibo account on Tuesday.

The average size of each transaction was 59 yuan ($9.50), the data showed. One man in Zhejiang province sent out 64,520 Hongbao via Alipay during the four days, amounting to a total of 260,000 yuan ($41,575).

The company said around half of the mobile lucky money senders and receivers were born after 1990, and around 40 percent of them were born between 1980 and 1989. Alipay's data also suggested that people in Shanghai are most fond of sending e-gifts during this time, as 10.4 million Hongbao were registered in the first two days of the holiday.

The most popular size of Hongbao in China is 88 yuan, 8.88 yuan, and 88.88 yuan, as eight in Chinese is pronounced similar to the word "rich". People also send out Hongbao in 5.20 yuan and 13.14 yuan, as the former is pronounced similarly to "I love you", and the latter sounds like "Be together forever" in Chinese.

Hongbao lovers also needed to frequently check their smartphones to fight for lucky money, as a large number of companies and celebrities were sending out huge amounts of cash randomly this year. A total of 999,999 Hongbao distributed by the founder of Alibaba Jack Ma at 0.19am on February 19 was snatched up by Alipay users in less than three minutes.