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Alipay rolls out virtual fortune cards

Source: Alipay

To commemorate Chinese New Year, Alipay has unveiled its annual “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign, known as Wufu, which leverages Augmented Reality (AR) to enable users to search for and “collect” the auspicious Chinese character “Fu,” which represents good fortune and blessings for the upcoming year.

Alipay users may be able to receive a virtual fortune card when they use the app to scan anything akin to the Chinese character Fu (福), which is often incorporated into traditional Chinese New Year decorations. Users who successfully collect a full set of five “Fu” cards are eligible to win cash rewards via virtual red packets, known as “hongbaos,” that can be opened on Chinese New Year Eve.

The 2021 “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign has proved to be extremely popular - the first million users took less than 36 hours to gather all five Fu cards since the campaign’s launch on February 1.

Alipay’s annual “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign enables users to search for and collect “Fu” characters in exchange for virtual red packets.

The campaign has also resonated with the elderly - for every 10,000 participants so far this year, five are aged 80 years and over. Those aged 60 and over accounted for 2.24% of the total number of users. To put this into context, the same age group accounts for about 10.3% of the country’s online population, according to an annual compilation by the China Internet Network Information Center.

A joint survey of some 8,000 Chinese respondents aged 60 years and over, conducted by a research team at Renmin University in partnership with Alipay, found that more than 40% of participants had been involved in the annual “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign. The campaign has become an important way to encourage the elderly to embrace digital technologies, by enabling them to learn simple movements, such as scanning codes or writing with their fingers. Enjoying the “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign is one of the top three online activities among the elderly, after red-packet exchanges and online shopping.

The survey also found that internet use among the elderly grew considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many turned to mobile apps to share and exchange information, purchase groceries, and order food deliveries, amongst other activities. The survey found that 77.7% of respondents aged 60 and over spent on average more than one hour per day on their mobile phones, while 39.7% would spend 3 hours or more.

Many elderly users also expressed a desire to learn more about digital technologies. The survey found that over 76% of respondents hope that their communities or senior colleges can offer training on how to use various digital technologies. Currently, self-study and family remain the two major learning sources, as over 93% of respondents noted that they would ask family members to teach them how to use different mobile apps.

Since its inception in 2016, the “Five Fortune Card Collection” campaign has attracted more than 600 million participants. Now in its sixth year, the campaign has introduced a calligraphy feature, where users can write their own “Fu” characters on Alipay and send it as a greeting to their friends and relatives or print it out as a Chinese New Year decoration.

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