Burn­ing a hole in the wal­let

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

The Lu­nar New Year is more than just an im­por­tant oc­ca­sion when the en­tire fam­ily re­unites — it is also the most ex­pen­sive event of the year for some Chi­nese ac­cord­ing to the State Post Bureau.

Data from Cainiao, the lo­gis­tics arm of Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, shows that most of the pack­ages were de­liv­ered to ma­jor cities such as Shang­hai, Bei­jing and Guangzhou.

Liu Hui, di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions at JD.com, one of the largest e-com­merce plat­forms in China, said that the vol­ume and value of or­ders placed on its site this year was twice that of last year.

Ac­cord­ing to Liu, Chi­nese con­sumers have main­tained a strong in­ter­est in fresh food items, with the most searched prod­ucts be­ing steak, cher­ries, shrimp, dumpling, sea cu­cum­ber, seafood and fruit. The top three prod­ucts bought dur­ing the Chi­nese Spring Fes­ti­val were wines, seafood and fruit.

Be­sides shop­ping, din­ing and trav­el­ing, Chi­nese also spend con­sid­er­able amounts on an ac­tiv­ity that is not mon­i­tored by com­pa­nies — red packet hand­outs.

Giv­ing red pack­ets filled with money to fam­ily mem­bers and friends is a tra­di­tion that is deemed as a bless­ing of peace and safety as well as a way to ward off evil spir­its. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by China Youth Daily which polled about 2,000 peo­ple, 60.7 per­cent of Chi­nese view this tra­di­tion to be a key el­e­ment of the Lu­nar New Year.

How­ever, the sur­vey also found that 57.9 per­cent of the re­spon­dents in­di­cated that giv­ing money away dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod has be­come a heavy bur­den for them — 57.2 per­cent of them said the money they gave away ac­counted for more than half of their monthly in­come.

Re­gard­less, Chi­nese have been ea­ger to share their wealth dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, es­pe­cially in the dig­i­tal realm.

From Chi­nese New Year’s Eve to the fifth day of the New Year, 46 bil­lion red pack­ets were given out and re­ceived through mo­bile mes­sag­ing app Wechat, a 43.3 per­cent in­crease from 2016, ac­cord­ing to Wechat op­er­a­tor Ten­cent.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Food is one of the things that Chi­nese spend the most on dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val.

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