Feb 16, 2016 06:30 PM

Closer Look: Tencent, Alibaba Take Their Rivalry to the Giving of Virtual Hongbao

(Beijing) – Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. have extended their rivalry to the handing out of holiday red envelopes in cyberspace.

Children in China traditionally receive hongbao, or red envelopes stuffed with money, from older relatives during Spring Festival, the holiday also known as Chinese New Year when families reunite.

The tradition was tweaked for modern times in 2014, when Tencent started allowing users of its hugely popular messaging app WeChat who had linked a bank card to their account to send hongbao to each other. This allowed WeChat users to send hongbao – usually with tiny amounts attached – to relatives, friends and colleagues.

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