Lunar New Year is known as China’s largest holiday. This year was no exception as people in Asia and all around the world ushered in the year of the monkey with WeChat.
Through WeChat, users participated in the holiday’s time honored traditions in new and fun ways.
Red Packets or Lucky Money are gift envelopes stuffed with cash typically exchanged between family and friends. Through WeChat Red Packets, users were able to instead give digital cash in the form of communication. On this Lunar New Year’s Eve alone, over 8 billion Red Packets were sent and received by 420 millions users. This represented eight times more than last year’s holiday.
Read the full “Spring Festival 2016 on WeChat” white paper and learn exactly how WeChat helped family and friends connect this year: CLICK HERE
WeChat, in partnership with the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada South Africa 2016, celebrated as 416 kite surfers set a new World Record for ‘The Largest Parade of Kitesurfers’ in South Africa at the Dolphin Beach in Cape Town. In addition to the new World Record, R100 000 was raised for charity on the day.
Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat South Africa said, “We believe that technology can enable everyone to achieve their goals. As an organization committed to connecting friends and families, we are pleased that our technology could be used to connect these communities and to also support them in the achievement of their dreams”
This Chinese New Year, Hong Kong WeChat users for the first time can spread the joy of giving and receiving Lai See even further with WeChat’s new Red Packet feature. Regardless of how far apart you are from loved ones, no one will have to miss out as we welcome in the year of the Monkey.
Giving & Receiving Red Packets Like a Pro
Aside from just giving set amounts, you can also test the luck of your friends and family through the WeChat Red Packet game! Simply choose a lump sum to send to your chat group and let WeChat randomly assign an amount of money to put in each of your designated Red Packets. Your group will have to be quick-fingered to get your good wishes. Test their luck by grabbing Red Packets like a pro with these tips:
1. Have Your WeChat Wallet Ready
Make sure you download or update to the latest version of WeChat and activate your WeChat Wallet to save the Packet money sent to you. Simply connect your Hong Kong credit card (MasterCard or Visa) with your WeChat Pay account to set a 6-digit pin code, and you are ready to start grabbing Red Packets!
Tens of millions of users send Red Packets (formerly called “Lucky Money” or “Red Envelopes”) stuffed with digital cash to each other every day on WeChat. What is this amazing mobile payments product and how did it get so popular? Learn how WeChat transformed person-to-person payments into a form of communication.
We speak with Stephen Wang, senior product manager at WeChat and Siyu Xiao, the product manager responsible for the most recent redesign of the Red Packets product.
As a follow up to the podcast, in Spring Festival 2015 (February 2015), WeChat delivered over 1 billion Red Packets. Less than one year later during New Year 2016 (January 1, 2016), WeChat users sent each other over 2.3 billion Red Packets.
Caesars Entertainment introduces “Ben” the WeChat Robot – a virtual concierge – using ObEN’s proprietary speech technology at The LINQ Hotel located at the center of the Las Vegas Strip during the annual Consumer Electronics Show from Jan. 6-9.
ObEN, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) company based in Pasadena, Calif., has developed a proprietary deep-learning based speech technology that permits any Internet of Things such as WeChat Robots to communicate in any language and in any voice in a matter of minutes.
During CES, visitors and guests of The LINQ Hotel will have the opportunity to converse with “Ben” the WeChat Robot from 7-11 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. on Jan. 6-9 through the WeChat app using an Internet of Things (IoT) platform developed by ObEN. To physically interact with “Ben,” guests at the hotel can use the touchscreen on the robot to obtain information on nearby dining, entertainment and nightlife options. Guests can also send a message to the robot by following Caesars Entertainment on WeChat, and “Ben” will speak back to them on-site in real time. Additionally, guests can scan Caesars Entertainment’s WeChat QR code anytime during Jan. 6-9 to engage with the virtual concierge from anywhere and receive information about the wide variety of experiences Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas resorts offer.
To ring in the New Year, we’ve launched WeChat Out, a new VOIP feature designed by WeChat to help users call mobile and landlines around the globe at low rates. WeChat Out is only available for users outside of Mainland China. Currently, the feature is live in the United States, Hong Kong and India, and will cover more countries and regions in the near future.
WeChat Out not only provides excellent call quality, but also offers super-low calling rates. With WeChat Out, you can call at any time and anywhere.
As our New Year gift to you, we have given you $0.99 USD in calling fees, providing up to 100 minutes of free calls for most numbers around the globe (See Calling Rates in FAQ). Update your version of WeChat and enjoy calling now.
A few tips for using WeChat Out:
1. Tap the “+” icon on the top right of the main screen and select WeChat Out
2. Select the mobile contact you’d like to call or dial the number in the dial pad to make a call
The holidays are approaching and the scramble to find the perfect gift for your friends is on.
They say this is the season of giving, so why not give back to charitable organizations and give your friends and family an alternative gift this year via WeChat?
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. By following its official account, you can view beautiful nature photos and learn more about habitats and animals.
You can also donate directly to The Nature Conservancy, purchase an honorary tribute gift, or plant a billion trees on earth.
To follow The Nature Conservancy, search for the WeChat ID “Nature_org.”
The inseparable duo, Woodie and Snooo, are here as this year’s holiday sticker set!
Woodie and Snooo typically roam around villages around Christmas time, trying to find warmth together. The duo has built a strong relationship with each other by sticking around one another during the cold winter months.
Woodie the Christmas tree is full of spirit, but usually has more mood swings than Snooo. He is very excitable, but always gets let down because his expectations are higher than the outcomes. As a drama queen, Woodie tends to blow things out of proportion and exaggerate even the smallest things. But at the end of the day, he relies on Snooo to be there for him, especially when it gets cold.
WeChat is investing R50 million in tech companies supporting local talents and innovations.
The fund will be used to identify and support tech-enabled businesses by assisting with rapid market access using the WeChat platform. Access to markets was listed as one of the biggest inhibitors to growth for tech-enabled businesses, in the recent Emerging Companies survey conducted by PWC and Silicon Cape.
To coordinate the initiative, tech strategy practice firm, Batstone, has been appointed by WeChat Africa to source and coordinate its early stage investment opportunities.
Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa says, ”Our fund aims to provide financial support to businesses so that they can effectively get on the WeChat platform. This will include technical integration and communications tactics across the Naspers’ stable and other suited channels.”
China CITIC Bank International Limited (the “Bank” or “CNCBI”) announced this week the launch of WeChat Pay on its WeChat Official Account (“OA”). CNCBI first launched its OA last October. Now CNCBI extends its offerings from instant banking services to WeChat Pay, becoming the first banking institution in Hong Kong to embrace this e-payment solution. Customers purchasing single-trip travel insurance packages from CNCBI via WeChat Pay will get a 50% premium discount, while they can enjoy the convenience of an innovative experience with a variety of banking services.
“CNCBI Travel Insurance Packages” via WeChat Pay is available for both existing and non CNCBI customers. All customers simply need to log onto their WeChat accounts and “follow” the CNCBI WeChat OA, tap the “Banking Services” icon on the CNCBI OA, then “Purchase Travel Insurance”. Customers will be redirected to WeChat Pay to settle the payment by VISA or MasterCard to complete the transaction.
Following our recent announcement showcasing how WeChat users are increasingly integrating the app into their daily lives, we are now giving you a front-row seat at the original data reveal.
Hear directly from our very own Stephen Wang, who manages the International Operations team and Data Analytics team for WeChat’s Core Product Group, as he presents the latest WeChat Lifestyle findings at a recent event in San Francisco.
With 570M daily users, WeChat is paving the way for so much more than just chatting. Stay tuned for more “We Chat About WeChat” podcasts coming soon.
If you or someone you know wants to join our team, building the WeChat Lifestyle for millions, we are hiring talented product managers. Click here to apply now: http://www.wechat.com/en/careers.html
WeChat has extended its features in South Africa with the introduction of the WeChat Wallet, a digital wallet service. Like a physical wallet, you can securely store your bank cards and make instant cash payments within WeChat with the new feature.
With WeChat Wallet, users can electronically send cash to friends and family, just like handing cash to a friend to get you lunch or pay for coffee or a drinks at the bar. You can now use up to three chip and PIN debit or credit cards in the WeChat Wallet. Transactions through the cards are verified by Visa and MasterCard security systems, can be saved in the WeChat Wallet.
Cards linked to the wallet can also be used to Cash In and increase your wallet’s cash balance, pay for services on WeChat such as airtime, data, electricity, food or pay SnapScan merchants. People can Cash In and Cash Out at Standard Bank ATMs, participating retailers, including SPAR, SPAR Tops and Cambridge Food Stores.
In addition, cash can be sent to friends via WeChat – even without the need for a bank account. When registering for the WeChat Wallet, users automatically become Standard Bank Instant Money users, which allows those without bank accounts to enjoy the benefits of the platform. Instant Money vouchers make up the cash balance, which can be topped up via Standard Bank self-service channels.
People can also Cash In and Cash Out via Instant Money Vouchers at Standard Bank ATMs and participating retailers, including SPAR, Cambridge, Rhino and Choppies Stores.
WeChat has partnered with Western Union, a leader in global payment services, to offer WeChat users in the United States the ability to send and receive money cross-border to 200 countries and territories via the company’s WU Connect platform.
The partnership marks WeChat as the first social communication application to provide a technology platform to support person-to-person cross-border money transfer capabilities to more than 200 countries and territories. The capability is now available to WeChat users in the United States, with planned rollouts to additional countries in the future.