Golden Week

Who gives the most cash to newlyweds? App puts wedding money on the map in China

Wedding guests in Shanghai and Hong Kong are the most generous with their red envelopes, according to a nationwide survey

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 6:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 6:30pm

A new “wedding money map” created by a financial management app is pointing couples to the most lucrative places in China to tie the knot – with Shanghai and Hong Kong at the top of the list.

The map is based on a nationwide survey conducted by Wacai that identified the areas in China where newlyweds received the most in cash gifts, the Yangtse Evening News reported on Monday. It did not give details of the size and timing of the survey.

At a Chinese wedding, friends and relatives typically give the bride and groom a red envelope stuffed with money. This week’s extended holiday for National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival is seen as a particularly auspicious time to get married.

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According to the map, couples in Shanghai and the eastern province of Zhejiang had the most generous guests at their banquets – they each dished out at an average of 1,000 yuan (US$150).

They were followed by Hong Kong, where people gave an average of HK$1,000 (850 yuan) and Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai, where couples were given an average of 800 yuan.

In Macau, the average cash gift was HK$500.

The least generous wedding guests were in southern Guangdong province and in southwestern Yunnan, where couples received an average of 100 yuan in their red envelopes.

Chinese in the northern and eastern provinces tended to give more cash to newlyweds in order to save face, according to the survey. Those in Jiangsu, Beijing and Shandong province, for example, gave up to 800 yuan as a cash gift, the report said.

One survey respondent from a village in northeastern Heilongjiang province agreed that there was huge social pressure to be generous with wedding money.

“When a good friend gets married I have to give them 1,000 yuan in a red envelope. I normally give 500 to 1,000 yuan if it’s a colleague who is getting married,” he was quoted as saying.

“But even 100 yuan is a lot of money for me, and ... I can only afford to give red packets to three good friends. I’m really sick and tired of this [tradition].”

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In the south and west of the country, wedding gifts tended to have less monetary value, the survey found. Couples in Tibet received an average of 200 yuan as a cash gift and they were also presented with a hada – a traditional white silk scarf given by Tibetans and Mongolians.

But on social media, some commenters disputed the survey’s findings for Yunnan and Guangdong.

“If you want to attend a wedding here, 100 yuan is barely good enough,” Xiao Yu, who lives in Guangdong, wrote on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. “On average you need to give 400 yuan minimum.”

She added that some people gave expensive wedding gifts such as jewellery, meaning they put less cash into their red envelopes.

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Another commenter apparently approved of the less generous approach: “If that’s true, then in my next life I want to be Cantonese.”

But for some it was a distasteful topic. “I bet the people complaining about wedding money here are still single,” wrote one Weibo user.