Red Envelopes on an iPhone

Red Envelopes on an iPhone

Red envelopes hongbao 红包 are used to gift money on special occasions. Real envelopes are still in use, but the digital version is now used more frequently and more broadly.

Story lines

  • Hongbao: from paper envelope to digital gift

    story by Koen van der Lijn, Xiaojun Zhang

    The Chinese tradition of gifting red envelopes transitioned from its tangible form into the digital. This is the story of the red envelope, a Chinese tradition of gifting money to relatives, from its presumed origins to the current form. This story was made as part of our collaboration with, reporting social trends in China, daily insights into an ever-changing China, Chinese social media, digital developments and trending topics.

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