Chinese New year, nowadays a digital money fest
Chinese New Year is the new heaven for sending digital money. Or how traditional festivals are being modernized.
This week we are a little more quite than ussual. The reason is simple: Chinese New Year, the only period where China really grinds to a halt (actually, Chinese New Year is a 4 week period). Just like every year, our family celebrates Chinese New Year. For Chinese New Year there is a lot of drinking and eating to be done, so the post will be short. Although Chinese New Year (Spring Festival as it's called in Chinese) is a very traditional festival, nowadays it has become a digital money fest. As many people know, it is tradition to give and receive red envelopes with money inside, between family members and friends during Chinese New Year, just like it's a habit in the western world to give envelopes met money.
Now however, the paper envelopes are very quickly being replaced by digital envelopes sent through P2P (peer2peer or people2people) digital payment apps in China. Last year for Spring Festival 32 billion digital envelopes were sent this way, while this year 100 billion digital envelopes are expected!Research firm Ovum expects the total digital envelopes value to be $270 billion worldwide in 2019.
Of course it's not so dat these digital envelopes are really being spent. Although it's not virtual money, it has become a habit to send an envelope, with the expectation to receive one also. Since it has become so easy to send an envelope digitally, the whole tradition of sending envelopes has become more and more like a game. People send digital envelopes from 1 to 200 RMB (the limit), just for the fun of it.
Or how digitalization is catching up with even the most traditional of Chinese festivals.