China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

In­stead of set­ting off fire­works, more peo­ple have cho­sen to cel­e­brate Spring Fes­ti­val this year by send­ing greet­ings online and by phone.

In­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent has re­leased fig­ures show­ing a sharp in­crease in mes­sages sent through its smart­phone chat ap­pli­ca­tion WeChat on Lu­nar New Year’s Eve.

The num­ber of mes­sages sent was dou­ble that for Lu­nar New Year’s Eve last year, with 10 mil­lion sent dur­ing a one-minute pe­riod at the peak pe­riod.

Users were also us­ing their mo­bile phones to send elec­tronic ver­sions of — tra­di­tional red en­velopes con­tain­ing cash gifts given dur­ing the hol­i­day. Peo­ple who re­ceive the “e- mes­sages can cash the money by link­ing their debit cards to WeChat.

The com­pany said more than 5 mil­lion users re­ceived e- be­tween the Lu­nar New Year’s Eve and 4 pm the next day, mak­ing a to­tal of around 20 mil­lion e-

Post­card and cal­en­dar sales have de­creased sharply this year, fol­low­ing a na­tional cir­cu­lar is­sued in late Oc­to­ber ban­ning the pur­chas­ing, print­ing, mail­ing and giv­ing of post­cards and cal­en­dars as New Year gifts with pub­lic money.

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