Holiday gifts increasingly invested

Updated: 2016-02-17 08:21

By Du Juan in Xi'an(China Daily)

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Chinese children are finding new ways to manage the lucky money they received during the Spring Festival as modern parents encourage their kids to learn more about finance and investment.

Gifting money in a red envelope, or hongbao, is a popular holiday tradition in China - believed to bring luck to the recipient.

The money is most often given to young people by their elders, although the amount can vary greatly.

In order to find out more about how much money changes hands, and what it is spent on, four students from The High School Affiliated to Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province, conducted a survey this year, according to a report in Chinese Business View.

They found that about a third of their 256 respondents received less than 2,000 yuan ($308), 2.7 percent were given more than 15,000 yuan and the largest group, 41.8 percent, received between 2,000 and 5,000 yuan.

When asked what they planned to do with the money, 57 percent said they would give it to their parents, 31 percent planned to buy books and stationery and about 9 percent said they would spend it on classmate get-togethers.

Investing in the stock market was one of the more unusual suggestions that the investigating students, aged 11 to 12, received.

Apparently, Chinese parents still play a big role in deciding how lucky money is spent, although increasingly their thoughts are turning to investments and savings.

Dong Yijing, a 33-year old mother in Shanxi province, said her 3-year-old son received around 60,000 yuan in lucky money during the holidays.

In addition to spending a small share on reading material, Dong said she "will donate one third of the money to disabled kids under my son's name and save the rest in the bank as a fixed deposit in his account".

"When he grows up, I will show him all the receipts for the donations so that he will be able to appreciate how it all started when he was so young," she said, adding that her son's savings will eventually help him to travel the world when he is older.

Wu Jian, 45, a businessman in Shanghai, said his 12-year old son was managing his lucky money himself.

"I want my son to gain some financial knowledge and learn the basic concepts of money management when he is young, so I allowed him to invest his lucky money under my guidance," said Wu.

As well as investing in education insurance, Wu suggested his son start a collection of model cars as "he likes cars, but is not old enough to have a driving license".

"I liked my father's advice and I found collecting more interesting than just buying books and saving," said his son Wu Yue.

Jin Yuan, a bank clerk and mother of a primary school student in Xi'an, described lucky money as a "nice tradition" that should be kept up.

"Many of my colleagues chose to open an account using their children's names at the bank to save their kids' lucky money," she said.

"However, I think teaching them how to spend it correctly matters more than saving it under their name."

Holiday gifts increasingly invested

(China Daily 02/17/2016 page5)