What is “520 Day” in China?

WRITTEN BY

Emerging Communications

LAST UPDATED

May 17, 2024

5 ways that brands can use 520 day to create emotional connections with their audiences.


China has not one, but three significant days to celebrate love.

First, the traditional Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th.

The second, May 20th, dubbed “520 Day,” has emerged as a romantic occasion, albeit unofficially recognised. Couples use this day to express love, much like Valentine’s Day.

The third date is Qixi, also known as the Qixi Festival or Chinese Valentine’s Day, occurring on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar.

May 20th, or “520 Day,” is a unique phenomenon in China.

The date 520 is homophonous with the phrase “I love you” in Mandarin (wǔ èr líng), so it has evolved into a sort of unofficial Valentine’s Day in China. Couples exchange gifts, go on dates, and express their love for each other on this day. 

520 for brands 

More so than Qixi, 520 Day presents a significant marketing opportunity to capitalize on the spirit of love and romance. Here are some of the ways that brands use it: 

  1. Special Promotions and Discounts: Brands can offer special promotions, discounts, or bundles specifically tailored for couples looking to celebrate their love on 520 Day. These can include deals on romantic dinners, couples’ getaways, or gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and jewellery. 
  1. Limited Edition Products: Creating limited edition products or packaging themed around love and romance can attract consumers looking for unique gifts to express their affection on 520 Day. This could include special edition chocolates, perfumes, or personalised items. 520 editions are common from high end luxury goods brands.
  1. Digital Marketing Campaigns: Leveraging social media platforms and digital marketing channels to run targeted campaigns centred around 520 Day can help brands reach a wider audience. Campaigns can include interactive contests, user-generated content campaigns, or heartfelt messages celebrating love. 
Gift promotions by World Duty Free
Cheval Residences 520 promotion
WeChat adapts its Red Envelope for 520
  1. Influencer Partnerships: Collaborating with influencers who resonate with the target audience can amplify brand messaging and increase visibility during the 520 Day period. Influencers can create engaging content showcasing how they celebrate love and incorporate branded products or services into their posts. 
  1. Offline Events and Experiences: Hosting offline events or experiences such as pop-up shops, couple’s workshops, or romantic movie screenings can create memorable experiences for consumers and drive foot traffic to physical retail locations. 
  1. Cross-Industry Collaborations: Partnering with complementary brands from different industries (e.g., a restaurant partnering with a florist) to offer combined promotions or experiences can enhance the overall value proposition for consumers and generate mutual benefits for the collaborating brands. 

520 Day presents a prime opportunity for brands to connect with consumers on an emotional level and drive sales by tapping into the theme of love and romance.

If you’d like to understand how to create a strategy around the many Chinese gift-giving days, and avoid the cultural pitfalls that many western brands have learned the hard way, Emerging Comms have teams in London and Shanghai who work closely together to make sure your bran is both protected, and relevant in China.