#FredinChina: WeChat introduces gold-gifting feature (hongbao) for Valentine’s Day

I’m Fred Raillard, Creative CEO, Co-founder and Creative Chief Officer with Farid Mokart of FRED & FARID, an independent creative boutique network based in New York, Shanghai and Paris. #FredinChina is an essential social media podcast to know and understand the world’s largest economy.

I fell in love with China, and live in Shanghai with my wife and three sons since September 2012. With my teams at the FRED & FARID Shanghai agency we monitor, analyze and decrypt this ultra-connected China with nearly 800 million netizens by sharing what we see, hear and read on Weibo, WeChat, Huaban, Youku. I prepare this column with Zhuomin Qin from FRED & FARID Shanghai.

Thanks to Zhuomin Qin, Feng Huang, Jalila Levesque, Jules Chaffiotte, Radouane Guissi, Yi Zhang, Ying Zhang, Aliou Maro, Tina Liu, Louis Caudevilla, Dushan Karageorgevitch, Jing Qian, Jonathan Roy, Maxime Aubanel and Antoine Robin for their participation to this chronic.

WeChat introduces gold-gifting feature (hongbao) for Valentine’s Day

The HotBrand this week is WeChat once again, but with ICBC, which is one of China’s biggest banks. As you know, digital ‘Hongbaos’ (red gift envelopes that you can post to your community), is the topic that is the most discussed by Chinese each year. Alibaba and WeChat Tencent battle it out each year to be the leader of the digital ‘Hongbao’.

This time, the founder of WeChat, Zhang Xiaolong said that despite the huge success of WeChat’s digital Hongbao, there was a risk that it could diminish. He therefore wanted to re-invent the mechanism for Valentine’s Day, by introducing a golden envelope, with milligrams of real gold (indexed from the gold market). For example, 1314 milligrams of gold equal 360 RMB, so you can actually give an envelope with 1314 milligrams of real gold through this association between WeChat and the ICBC bank.

You may wonder why the number is 1314 — in Chinese pronunciation, ‘I SAN I TZE’ is very close to ‘One life and forever’, which is highly appropriate for Valentine’s day!

So this new Hongbao envelope was launched in the hope of winning China’s ‘Hongbao war’, which is a key element of the BAT war (Baidu / Alibaba / Tencent), and has been a big success!

The Qin Empire 3, the best Chinese show of the moment

The HotTopic this week is ‘Qin Empire 3’, which made over 180 million media impressions and 320 thousand discussions on Chinese social networks. This is in fact a TV series called ‘Qin Empire 3’, that was released relatively under the radar, but has become very successful.

The series is about the rise to power of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, his great grandfather and how he then became a very young emperor following his brother’s death, and how his mother helped him rise to power and build a strong network of allies to keep him in power. The show then goes on to explain how he was able to take control, unify and rule over 6 states, which was extremely difficult at the time.

It became a huge success because for various reasons. Historically, Chinese historical TV series have tended to be very cheesy, badly produced using celebrities without any real acting skills (little fresh meat), without respecting the historical facts. This time, a real effort was made by the production company, putting the budget into the production values and not the celebrities, whilst staying true to the historical facts. Millennials appreciated this high level of production that was put into the series, as it draws parallels to the high entertainment standards that they see in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Millennials even went as far as comparing the series to ‘Game of Thrones’, saying it was even better, as this is more realistic and based on facts.

Chaoyang police develop app for citizen crime-busters

The HotPost this week is ‘Chaoyang citizens’. This is the launch of an app by a Beijing police district called Chaoyang. Now, Chaoyang is well known for being very strong in its neighborhood watch organization that it has put in place to lower crime.

In Chinese pop culture, people know that there is a real cohesion and fraternity amongst the inhabitants of Chaoyang to work together in order to lower crime rates.

The police launched this app that allows users to denounce any criminal activity! There were a lot of discussions about this, first of all praising the fact that the police are using a digital method to try and reduce crime, and secondly for the humor of using the district of Chaoyang which was already so well-known for fighting crime. There were a lot of jokes about this, for example that the people of Chaoyang are as strong as the CIA, the KGB, the Mossad and MI6 altogether!

Follow Fred on Twitter: @FredFarid or FRED & FARID: @FredFaridGroup FRED & FARID website: www.fredfarid.com

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on February 21, 2017.

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