BEIJING -- 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.
China has a long tradition of giving hongbaos, traditionally in red envelopes, during Spring Festival.
The electronic versions are used by Internet companies to expand their share of the mobile payment market.