WeChat launches online 'red envelope' app for Chinese New Year

  • WeChat
  • Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014

Chinese New Year is upon us and Tencent's social media platform WeChat has found a way to turn traditional seasonal practices digital. 

The messaging service has launched an official Xinnian Hongbao account to facilitate the traditional practice of giving red envelopes filled with money just in time for the New Year, reports Jing Daily

Traditionally, the Chinese gift one another every New Year by filling red envelopes for good luck, but the WeChat service allows users to send virtual envelopes online via the platform's payment system. 

In a fun twist, users can select one friend to send an envelope to, or let the app randomly divide money between a group of friends, with only the first 20 people to open their envelope receiving the money. 

According to China Daily, the introduction of the app is rumored to have led to over 100 million users to sign up to the WeChat payment service, although the figure has yet to be confirmed. 

Luxury brands have also been cashing in on the hongbao tradition of giving money, with Western brands such as Céline, Fendi and Gucci all designing special envelopes for the purpose. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2014 

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