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Lucky Money Goes Digital as E-commerce Influences Chinese New Year Traditions

Lunar NY1

Happy Lunar New Year! This is the Year of the Horse, predicted to be a time of high energy and change. So it is perhaps fitting that the New Year tradition of giving cash gifts, called ‘lucky money’, is also being influenced by the move from physical money to e-money.

Evolving to E-commerce

The tradition of exchanging the red packets of money, known as ‘lai see’ in Cantonese and ‘hong bao’ in Mandarin, can be traced back hundreds of years. They are a potentially very rewarding practice, especially for those who are young and single.

As China continues to embrace e-commerce and online transactions, traditions are giving way to the convenience and moving from the physical world into the digital space. A growing number of Chinese are leaving their wallets out of it, instead preferring to get their lucky money online.

China continues to be increasingly connected- according to a 2013 Global Times survey, over 90% of 18 to 30 year olds own a smartphone that is connected to the internet. So it makes sense that in this digital age, the majority prefer to get their hong bao deposited directly into their bank accounts.

Read more about this on CNN: E-commerce trumps tradition as Lunar New Year ‘lucky money’ goes online