8 Jaw-Dropping Statistics from Spring Festival 2019

Key New Year stats, from the number of WeChat hongbao (digital cash-stuffed red envelopes) sent to the number of Spring Festival Gala viewers

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12:22 AM HKT, Tue February 12, 2019 1 mins read

Did we mention it was the Lunar New Year last week? You might have seen one or two pieces of content from us about it, but before we move on from all the New Year-ness, here’s a quick-fire round-up of some of the craziest numbers to emerge from the Spring Festival period:

The Spring Festival is traditionally a time of indulgence, but WeChat Sports, a built-in fitness add on to Tencent’s mega app, recorded users taking 963 million steps between New Year’s Eve and the 5th day of the New Year. 130 million people took more than 100,000 individual steps. To put that in perspective for you — the average person takes 2,000 steps to walk a mile, so this is the equivalent of walking 50 miles. Absolutely no need for short-lasting new year’s resolutions like exercise and dieting.

823 million hongbao (“red envelopes”) were sent and received on WeChat to mark the beginning of the Year of the Pig. The digital cash gifts were most popular this year in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing. Again, the scale of user engagement here is too wild to leave unsaid, with the numbers effectively amounting to the entire population of these three cities sending at least 3 red envelopes.

Interactions on the Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo exceeded 300 million, with new trending topics (for example discussion of the Spring Festival Gala TV program) exceeding a whopping 8 billion views.

The Gala itself was broadcast across 162 countries and regions and was watched by 1.173 billion viewers around the globe using TV, internet, and social media outlets. Well, we say “watched”, but as we’ve noted before, the Gala tends to be on in lots of households but not necessarily with everyone glued to the screen (and this year the show was especially dull).


Internet giant Baidu’s app ranked number 1 among free apps on Apple’s App Store during the Spring Festival period, with downloads helped by their digital hongbao campaign that was integrated into the Gala (viewers could get cash rewards via the app at various points during the show). The figures suggest that few people were really using the app prior to the Gala sponsorship deal and how many will continue to do so now the hongbao campaign has passed is unclear — its overall rating on iTunes is 2.5 out of 5 possible stars.

On the big screen, China Film Group Corporation’s hit The Wandering Earth earned a little over one third of the Chinese New Year box office’s total of 5.8 billion RMB, beating Crazy Alien which topped the charts on New Year’s Day. The overall box office was up 23% this year, with people in China attending a record 2.89 million screenings. (The Wandering Earth is also currently showing on select screens overseas, incidentally.)

And people weren’t just heading to the cinema for escapism — plenty went out of town over the holiday. The “Great Migration” of Spring Festival produced a per capita expense that exceeded 8,000RMB for outbound domestic travel, while the most popular destinations were Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.

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