WeChat Messages Hit 46 Billion Over Chinese Holiday

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WeChat, the Chinese instant messaging service, says 46 billion of its “electronic red envelopes” were sent over the Chinese New Year holiday. Each of these contains money sent as a gift.

WeChat, a mobile app, is part of Chinese internet company Tencent. It has a total 800 million users.

According to the Xinhua news agency:

WeChat, China’s major instant messaging app, said that some 46 billion electronic red envelopes (“hongbao” in Chinese) containing gift money were sent on WeChat from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 43 percent more than last year.

Chinese Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 28.

Geographically, people in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei provinces led the hongbao mania, while outside the Chinese mainland, the Republic of Korea topped the WeChat giving charts.

WeChat also said those born in the 1980s and 1990s sent and received the most hongbaos during the holiday and this year men gave more hongbao to men than to women.

The app is available for download from both the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Android app stores. It is a free download.

The iTunes store’s description of WeChat:

 Over half a billion people use WeChat, the free messaging & calling app that allows you to easily connect with family & friends across countries. It’s the all-in-one communications app for free text (SMS/MMS), voice & video calls, moments, photo sharing, and games.