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Stories from South East Asia – CNY Traditions going Digital


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The neon-lit streets of Hong Kong was Red-hued during my recent visit there. Chinese New Year preparations was all around with glittery red lanterns, oranges, Mandarin trees filling up the surroundings. The light evening breeze flowing across the harbor was carrying the mesmerizing tunes of melodious oriental music. And the famous Hong Kong skyline with its splash of colors was adding a special effect to the ongoing CNY preparations. In between the meetings, my business partner was busy planning which platforms to use for digital hangbao distribution for his family reunion.

For a festivity that is so steeped in tradition, Chinese Lunar New Year is undergoing a radical digital transformation. In keeping up with the age of digital transformation, many Chinese families across South East Asia, Hong Kong and mainland China have wholeheartedly embraced the digital transfer of money, spending their cash on smartphones. My business associate was telling me, “Traditional hangbao distribution is being replaced by new habits amid a digital era. Digital red packets are emerging as a new excitement in the traditional culture. And this is addictive as you want to have something special, new to do during the festival and impress your near and dear ones.” He also added that Alipay has introduced augmented-reality technologies to its red packet services to give its users a better experience while Tencent widened foreigners’ access to digital hangbao on WeChat. People are excited about fun, novelty and convenience of choosing digital hangbao. Blockchain and wallet based payment technologies are playing a greater role in such transactions. Initially, the experiment which started as novelty has been having a great impact on overall economy across the region. Thus, Digital Transformation is making its impact felt on the festive season too. This period is also important for many businesses in its planning and strategizing for the upcoming financial year.Many businesses across the region are trying to leverage open source technologies to bring about this innovation and transformation for their business.

This is the year of Dog. And just like the Dog, every business needs to be alert, agile for extremely dynamic business environments. In this age of technology and business disruptions, business unusual is becoming the usual practice. In one of the surveys conducted by KPMG, 71% of Business executives think that they are going through Business disruption and most of the times the disruption is coming from outside the traditional competition. And this unconventional competition is essentially supported by one and only – Technological innovation. And a Dog like dynamic, agile flexible symbol for CNY while entering this turbulent time, just stresses on the approach every business should have to survive and prosper.

Wish you a happy digital, innovative and globally disruptive Chinese New Year filled with prosperity and good health. Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Kaustubh Patwardhan I Director – Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Ashnik

Kaustubh (KP) is the Director – ASEAN and Hong Kong, Ashnik. His role comprises of heading Strategic Partnerships, Channels Management and Business Development for ASEAN. With his expansive experience in IT, he plays a pivotal role in strategic initiatives undertaken by Ashnik. Apart from his usual responsibilities at Ashnik, he is passionate about photography, cricket and other sports. He is also an enthusiastic participant in poetic circles and plays.



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