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Elevating customer experience in the Chinese market with digital gift-giving through gift cards

In this rapidly evolving world of global brands, it's become essential to embrace digital solutions to enhance customer experiences and cater to the unique demands of the Chinese market.

The traditional culture of gift-giving in China, combined with the widespread adoption of digital payment methods, offers a golden opportunity for businesses to leverage e-gift cards and build stronger customer relationships.

Woman interacting with mobile phone

By understanding the Chinese market and getting innovative with marketing strategies, we can create a seamless omnichannel experience that really hits the spot with consumers.

So let's delve into the significance of digitization, the rise of digital interfaces for gift-giving, and the winning strategies in this techy age for the gift card industry. It's a fascinating world out there!

Gifts mean so much more in Chinese culture.

In this vibrant culture, gift-giving is not just an occasional affair but a continuous act that weaves together the threads of relationships. While in many Western cultures, gifts are typically exchanged on special occasions, in China, they are bestowed throughout the year. And it's not just about the gift itself; the presentation matters too. Exquisite wrapping, vibrant colors, and careful selection are all vital elements that add depth and significance to the exchange.

But why, you may wonder, is gift-giving so significant in Chinese culture? It's because of something called Guanxi.

Guanxi— the intricate web of social connections and relationships — is a cornerstone of Chinese society. Through gift-giving, individuals build and nurture their Guanxi, forging bonds that transcend mere acquaintance and blossom into lifelong alliances. The value of the gift becomes a tangible reflection of the value placed on the relationship itself.

Group of people in China going about their daily lives

Gifts are like invaluable gems scattered along the path of life. These gems serve as silent messengers, conveying respect, gratitude, and good wishes. It's a practice entwined with symbolism and profound meaning, aimed at nurturing and strengthening connections.

So, as we dive deeper into the captivating world of Chinese culture, we discover that businesses must embrace and integrate this profound aspect into their marketing strategies. By understanding the art of gift-giving, they unlock the gateway to the hearts and minds of Chinese consumers, creating experiences that resonate on a profound level.

The rise of gift digitization in China

The combination of China's gift-giving culture and the increasing prevalence of digital payment methods has paved the way for the popularity of digital gift-giving. Particularly among the younger generations accustomed to digital interfaces, such as Douyin (TikTok), Kuaishou, Douyu, WeChat and Alipay, for various activities of which sending virtual gifts has become the norm.

If you’ve ever been to China between the end of January and the beginning of February (best time to visit Beijing if you want to avoid crowds), you would have experienced the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.

Family showcasing all the red envelopes they received for the Chinese new year celebrations

This holiday period is shaped around the Chinese tradition of “hongbao,” meaning “red bag,” associated with a monetary gift exchange removing the bad and old and welcoming the good and new. Today, it is the customary “red packet,” also known as lucky money — gifted in red envelopes — which older generations traditionally give to the young, representing good fortune.

In 2014, the Chinese Internet giant Tencent shook things up by introducing online financing to WeChat through a Mini Program (sub-applications).

They took traditional gift-giving and made it digital with the WeChat Red Packet gifting feature that took China by storm! Since then, billions of RMB have been sent virtually, creating a real-time wildfire — a red packet phenomenon — transforming social media, finance, and cultural practices.

WeChat is only one example of an ever-growing unique business model that has shifted the traditional form of giving gifts to e-gifting. Live-streaming platforms, which predominate amongst Gen Z, have also seen a rise in users sending virtual gifts, providing more opportunities for viewers to interact with content creators. Take the Chinese live-streaming platform Douyu, where 7.3 million viewers sent virtual gifts in the fourth quarter of 2021.

By leveraging virtual gifting features on platforms like Douyu or WeChat, businesses can tap into digital trends and create targeted marketing campaigns with digital gift cards to capture the attention and loyalty of young Chinese consumers. Take, for example, GoGift's mobile virtual gifting universe in the Nordics. GoGift pioneered the virtual micro-gifting sphere through its collaboration with MobilePay, similar to WeChat Pay, and now runs the largest gifting marketplace in the Nordics.

Incorporating these virtual gifting strategies presents businesses with a powerful avenue to engage consumers — like GoGift's trailblazing efforts in the Nordics — showcasing the potential for success in the digital gift-giving realm.

Digital game-changers – taking advantage of the times

But let’s bounce back to WeChat because it’s really helped brands harness the power of digital ecosystems to enhance their customer experiences and reach new audiences. Did you know WeChat is a closed system? This means it can’t search the Internet but can only work within the WeChat universe, yet still offering different ways for users to access a Mini Program. These Mini Programs allow consumers to shop, engage in campaigns, access customer support, and more, including opening the doors to Social Gifting.

Dior, a major luxury brand, understood the assignment. Beyond fancy gadgets and big budgets, they have embraced digital transformation to connect with their customers in meaningful ways. (And isn’t that what we’re all here for?) Tapping into the Chinese market meant taking advantage of gift-giving in its most prosperous time: Chinese New Year.

Dior allowed users to send customized gift cards purchased with WeChat Pay and sent directly on WeChat. Not coincidentally, WeChat Pay also has its own Wallet, meaning the receiver can store the e-card until ready to use.

Dior made a smart move by taking an active digital strategy through WeChat, making the process of ordering, sending and redeeming quick and mobile-friendly.

Through personalized interactions, tailored recommendations, and seamless omnichannel integration, brands excel in providing a simple, individualized experience across various digital platforms.

Shouldn’t we be aiming to do the same? If you’re looking for a streamlined global gifting solution, The Global Gift Card makes gifting easy for anyone, anywhere!

Embracing the digital adventure in the gift card world

The gift card industry has its own unique opportunities to embrace digital transformation. The past years have presented numerous challenges in e-commerce but have also opened doors to incredible possibilities. The gift card industry can embark on new digital adventures through engaging storytelling, customization, personalization, and seamless integration across multiple digital platforms, elevating the gift card experience to new heights in new markets.

Additionally, integrating innovative technologies is key in a world where customers can personalize their gift cards with special messages or create custom designs (check out our fully customizable gifting solutions). QR codes, mobile apps, and e-commerce platforms can simplify the purchasing and redemption process, providing convenience and delight to customers.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses in the gift card industry have a tremendous opportunity to innovate and revolutionize the customer experience in the Chinese market with gift cards.

Drawing from the Chinese digital journey, the gift card industry can create immersive online adventures, build trust and exclusivity, and leverage technology to provide seamless and personalized interactions.

Let’s continue building together on our quest to empower individuals and extend meaningful connections into uncharted digital realms. And if you’re looking to send gifts to China, GoGift's got you covered.


About GoGift

Since 2003, GoGift has been optimizing the gift card market, providing innovative gifting solutions to more than 15,000 businesses worldwide. For any global gifting, reward, or incentive need, GoGift’s got you covered. Learn more at


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