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New forms of greetings help enrich festivities
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-03 01:53

The Social Survey Institute of China also found Chinese people are leveraging modern gadgets to do one of the most traditional things during the festivity: paying New Year's calls.

Less than half of the respondents said they would visit their friends and relatives to exchange New Year's greetings face to face, while 61 per cent said they would pay a New Year's call by a "thumbnail," meaning to send text messages through mobile phones.

Last Spring Festival, China's telecom operators chalked up turnover of at least 1 billion yuan (US$120 million) in short message services, as subscribers sent 9.8 billion messages during the seven-day holiday.

Industrial insiders said they anticipate revenues from such services to surge this Spring Festival, as the number of mobile phone users in China now exceeds 300 million, up by 40 million from a year ago.

Still, 63 per cent of the surveyed said telephones are their choice for exchanging New Year's wishes.

One-fifth of the surveyed said they will send their New Year's wishes via the Internet. By taking advantage of broadband, some of them will exchange New Year greetings through on-line video phones, the survey found.

As to commodity spending during the revelry, 41 per cent planned to consume up to 3,000 yuan (US$361) during the week. That sum of money translates to a month's pay for many urbanites.

Only 4 per cent expected to use up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,205) for celebrations, according to the survey.

The survey also found 62 per cent said they would have at home the dinner on the Lunar New Year's eve perhaps the most important annual feast for Chinese people.

But the rest said they would have the banquet, which symbolizes family reunions, at restaurants.

Yang Weiwu, a manager with the X.E. Flavour Catering Group, which runs nine restaurant chains in Beijing, yesterday said 130 tables at its headquarters in Haidian District have already been booked by residents for the Lunar New Year's eve dinner.

(China Daily 02/03/2005 page2)

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