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Chinese New Year looks mighty auspicious for Facebook as Hong Kongers flood site with content swaps, online shopping sprees

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 6:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 January, 2016, 3:51pm

In the final run up to China’s Spring Festival, Facebook users in Hong Kong share almost four times more content than normal on the site and use it to shop online with wild abandon, Facebook said this week drawing on data from early 2015.

The social media giant expects to see the same or similar pattern repeat itself in the coming days despite an ongoing retail slump in the city.

READ MORE: Trending this year among Hong Kong’s Facebook users: typhoons, TV and troubled politicians

“Our insights from last year also show that it’s likely that starting next week, and leading up to the celebrations [in February], people will be purchasing more online with e-commerce shopping,” said Jayne Leung, head of Facebook in Greater China.

The Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in China, when millions of migrant workers and students engage in a huge migration across the nation to reunite with families for several days of eating, drinking and swapping hongbao, or little red envelopes filled with cash.

This year, the special day falls on Monday, February 8 but the festivities continue for about a week and in mainland China industry often slows for a monthlong period either side of the official holiday.

Based on data supplied by Facebook, top purchases include festive food, decorations, clothing, hampers and gift vouchers.

READ MORE: Facebook hunt for couple who lost treasured holiday snaps in Hong Kong taxi on New Year’s Eve

Online shopping tends to peak about three weeks before the Lunar New Year, according to the company.

But shopping sprees aside, content sharing also spikes over this festive period, with Hong Kongers sharing over 50 per cent more photos and 88 per cent more videos on Facebook, according to the company.

Hong Kong has one of the highest penetration rates globally for the 12-year-old social media site , with over 4.6 million active users on the platform each month.

The rise in shared content may not surprise pundits as a study by global research consultancy TNS in November found that Hong Kong smartphone users spend about 2 hours each day on their devices.