In China, a red envelope, red packet or hongbao is a gift of cash. It is given at weddings, holidays, or even as a means to show appreciation such as to workers, or even to people in authority.
Here one of the Dun Pai Factory workers is receiving a Hong Bao after reaching a certain goal for daily production and quality of two break artillery shells.
Hong Bao is also a form of “lubrication” for officials. Before the Chinese New Year it is common to give Hong Bao as a gift. One on-line article in China recently “leaked” a large company’s gift list. The article triggered a huge response on China’s social networks with one user making the following comment:
“This is totally normal. All companies do this at the end of the year, especially giving to the registration bureaus, tax collectors and health inspectors. Even if you bribe them, there is no guarantee that they won’t screw with you. But if you don’t, they will definitely screw with you.”
Thus the Hong Bao certainly has a colorful story. The Red Envelope is unique to the complex culture of China.