• Red envelopes hanging on a peach tree as decoration in Foshan, Guangdong Province.

Red envelopes hanging on a peach tree as decoration in Foshan, Guangdong Province. (Photo : Getty Images)

It is a tradition among Chinese people to give red envelopes containing gift money during Spring Festival. This year, China's tech companies are revolutionizing this, making this tradition digital by creating mobile red-envelope apps with Pokemon Go-inspired features.

Alipay, the electronic payment provider from Ant Financial Services Group, has unveiled a new reality game on their app. It is location-based and allows users to collect virtual red envelopes as they move around areas.

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A user will be able to use the app to hide their digital red envelope in a specific area, then send out clues to their friends or family to find them.

Alipay has allocated a budget of 200 million yuan as incentives. This is to promote the virtual game and encourage users to use it.

Guan Hua, an executive at Alipay, said, "The game is designed to recreate the fun of childhood games involving searching for hidden objects and add a human touch to the holidays."

The game also allows the users to scan the Chinese character Fu, for a chance to receive one of the five designated lucky cards. A user who has collected all of the five cards by the eve of Spring Festival is entitled to a share of the 200-million-yuan budget allocation.

Tencent Holdings Ltd., another Chinese company, made a similar move by combining lucky money with Augmented Reality features through its QQ messenger.

Users who come within 100 meters of the marked clue on their map will be able to choose one of three digital red packets, one of which contains prize money. Tencent has allocated 300 million yuan in incentives to players.

Other foreign companies are also using the digital red envelope campaign as a marketing tool. More than 200 brands including Uniqlo, Coca-Cola and KFC have teamed up with technology companies to hide digital red envelopes that contain cash across their stores.

The AR-enabled red packets are the latest endeavor of turning the holiday tradition into a wildly popular phenomenon.