China’s wallet app for its digital yuan central bank digital currency (CBDC) introduced a feature for users to send money in an electronic version of traditional “red packets” to try to attract new users.
The new feature was released over the weekend, around one month ahead of the Chinese New Year on Jan. 22, as reported by the South China Morning Post on Dec. 26.
The “red packets,” called hongbao in China, are traditionally used for gifting money around the Chinese New Year and other celebrations as a gesture of good luck. The rising use of digital payments has seen virtual red envelopes offered by popular local services such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Reportedly, the e-CNY app allows a red packet to be sent to only one person, or a “lucky draw” can be set up for a group of people who will get a random amount from a pool of funds, both WeChat Pay and Alipay have a similar feature.
Users can choose a packet cover that displays well wishes for the new year or birthdays as well as wishes for a “prosperous China.”