Lunar New Year gift giving in the Internet era








BEIJING  |   2015-02-22 19:07:26


Lunar New Year

gift giving

in the Internet era


By Li Huizi and Gao Bo



The traditional scene of children clad in red, knelt down, kowtowing to their elders, who hand them red envelopes containing “lucky money” for Spring Festival is now a rarity.

Nowadays, this has been replaced by one tap on a mobile app, with no need to even meet in person.

Ushering in the Year of the Sheep, people across the country could be seen shaking their cell phones in order to receive digital red envelopes.

Several Internet companies, including Tencent, Alibaba, Sina and Baidu, released red envelope games, hoping to grab a slice of the e-payment market, as users must link their debit or credit cards to their accounts.

While elderly relatives continued to send the traditional red envelopes, the younger generation exchanged e-envelopes.

Guo Lifeng, a migrant working in east China’s Zhejiang Province, did not go back to central Hubei Province this Spring Festival. However, he did not feel lonely as his family created a WeChat group to exchange red envelopes and blessings.

“Tradition is still tradition, but nowadays it has been injected with a new vigor, but the original customs are still there,” Guo said.

On Lunar New Year’s Eve on Wednesday, more than one billion people sent or received red envelopes on WeChat. Alibaba’s Alipay saw 4 billion yuan (about 650 million U.S. dollars) sent on that day alone.

There were around 649 million Chinese Internet users as of December, including 557 million that used their cell phones to connect to the Internet.

The festival has helped cultivate loyalty to certain Internet brands, Hong Tao of Beijing Technology and Business University said.

“Giving and accepting red envelopes is a way of socializing. [With] only a smart phone, people can easily interact with each other,” said Wang Dengfeng from Peking University’s psychology school.

“It is good that this old tradition has been modernized,” said Wan Jianzhong, an expert on folk customs and cultural anthropology at Beijing Normal University, but he warned that people should not be obsessed with the amount inside the red envelopes, instead they should value the goodwill attached to them.

This year the number of SMS’ sent dropped markedly, tens of billions were sent during past Spring Festivals. The reason: SMS have a cost, but prepaid Internet access is free.




Traditionally, Chinese stock up on holiday essentials in the weeks leading up to Spring Festival, as most businesses will close for at least the first two or three days of the week-long holiday.

In recent years, in e-commerce crazy China, people have shifted from shopping at street fairs to buying from online retailers.

Young people, especially, favor online Spring Festival shopping for its efficiency and convenience.

Meanwhile, certain officials can use this online trend to their advantage — to send their superiors discreet gifts, away from prying eyes.

Gift cards can be exchanged for money through scalpels and, in recent years, these cards have been the focus of the austerity campaign.

Experts, however, have called for rules to be established to regulate online cash flow and other irregularities.









  1. wrote:

    Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this web site to take latest
    updates, so where can i do it please assist.

  2. Hi there every one, here every person is sharing these kinds of know-how, so it’s
    good to read this blog, and I used to visit this web site
    all the time.

  3. wrote:

    It’s an awesome article in support of all the online viewers;
    they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

  4. Katlyn wrote:

    If some one needs to be updated with most up-to-date technologies afterward he must be go to see this site and be
    up to date every day.

  5. wrote:

    Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform
    you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  6. Gabriele wrote:

    Hi there to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of
    this web site; this weblog consists of amazing and genuinely fine stuff in favor of visitors.

  7. wrote:

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to
    say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

  8. Hello, just wanted to tell you, I loved this article. It was practical.
    Keep on posting!

  9. Davis wrote:

    Hi, yeah this paragraph is in fact good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.


  10. wrote:

    This post provides clear idea in favor of the new viewers
    of blogging, that genuinely how to do blogging and site-building.

  11. I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any
    internet browser compatibility issues? A small number of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this issue?

  12. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to
    be actually something that I believe I’d never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and very vast for
    me. I am having a look ahead for your next post, I will attempt to
    get the dangle of it!

  13. Hayden wrote:

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same
    time as you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I have been tiny
    bit familiar of this your broadcast provided vibrant transparent concept

  14. I just like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at again right here regularly.
    I am rather certain I will learn plenty of new stuff proper here!
    Best of luck for the following!

  15. …Click here for or more Information…

    [...]Best Bosnian Rock Music Band – AXA[...]…

Leave a Reply