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January 31, 2014updated 04 Apr 2017 4:08pm

Chinese opt for bank transfer over cash for New Year gifts

Over half of Chinese would rather receive New Year gifts of money electronically than in the traditional red envelopes (lai see), according to a survey.

By Ellie Chambers

Over half of Chinese would rather receive New Year gifts of money electronically than in the traditional red envelopes (lai see), according to a survey.

In the poll by Avanti, 58% of respondents said they would rather receive the money in the form of a bank transfer.

The Shanghai-based consultancy firm surveyed 672 across several Chinese cities on the mainland.

The survey also found that more than half of the men surveyed received lai see through direct transfers, whereas only a third of women did.

The findings have seemingly been borne out by the success of a new virtual red envelope feature on the Chinese messaging app WeChat.

Tencent, the company behind the service, said that between them WeChat’s 600m users had exchanged a total of CNY18m ($2.97) in the first 24 hours after the feature was launched on 24 January.

The tradition of giving money in envelopes is an age old custom in China and Hong Kong, especially at New Year, which falls on 31 January this year.

The envelopes are coloured red because the colour symbolises luck and joy in Chinese culture.

It is thought that 320m red envelopes were exchanged in Hong Kong alone last year.

 

Related articles:

Mobile payments in China nearly triple between Q2 and Q3 2013

China Mobile, UnionPay agree on standards for NFC-based mobile payment systems

MoneyGram, PSBC sign deal to offer money transfer services in China

 

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