wechat HongBaoFor those who don’t celebrate the Lunar New Year, one of the traditions of the holiday is that elders give the younger generation red packets, also known as “hong bao”. These red packets typically contain money and is something that kids usually look forward to every year. However it seems that in recent times, culture and technology have begun to merge.

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According to the latest reports, it seems that more Chinese users are starting to go digital with their red packets, choosing to gift them over platforms like WeChat and Alipay Wallet as opposed to physically handing them out, so much so that Tencent has reported that for this Lunar New Year, a staggering 8 billion hong baos were exchanged, which is 8 times more than the number that was gifted last year.

This has actually been going on for the past couple of years, although it seems to be only recently that the number has skyrocketed. If anything, this serves to highlight the importance of the mobile payments system especially in burgeoning markets such as China where they were worth $368 million in the third quarter of 2015.

It is also not surprising as to why foreign tech companies such as Apple and Samsung are eager to get into the mobile payments scene in the country.

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