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75 per cent of Chinese to give out digital 'red envelopes'

In China this Lunar New Year, ang pows — the red envelopes containing cash that married couples give to kids — are going digital. This is very good news for trees.

More and more Chinese people have followed the fashion of giving out digital “red envelopes,” cash gifts exchanged through a smartphone app, to friends and relatives while celebrating the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese lunar New Year.

A survey conducted by United Overseas Bank (UOB) showed that three quarters of Chinese people plan to give out their “red envelopes” through their smartphones during the Spring Festival holidays, China Youth Daily reported.

And the reason for the increasing popularity of the digital “red envelope” over the traditional ones is because of the freshness, fun and convenience it brings, the survey shows.

Lately, updates to Tencent’s QQ and Alipay, two popular apps in China, have added to the fun people can experience while giving out and grabbing the digital “red envelope.”

With the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) technology, grabbing the digital “red envelope” through these two apps will be similar to playing the game Pokemon Go.

In the meantime, another survey by Rong360, an online financing platform, has shown some worrying results. It said nearly 21 per cent of the people surveyed said they used to be at odds with their friends or relatives because of digital “red envelopes.”

Nearly 20 per cent of the people surveyed said that the atmosphere of New Year celebrations was affected with family members busily grabbing “red envelopes” through the phones.

The Rong360 survey also showed that 46 per cent of those surveyed said they had given out “red envelopes” just to get people to praise or forward their postings on social media like WeChat or Weibo. But over 29 per cent of people said that they will just ignore these digital “red envelopes”.

The giving of red envelopes on occasions like Chinese New Year is a tradition among the Chinese people.

Typically, older members of the family give the red envelopes to the children in the family to celebrate lunar New Year.

This story was published with permission from

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