If you are visiting for a short time the custom of giving a red envelope at Chinese New Year will not be required of you. If you have any ongoing dealings with Chinese people, a red envelope containing money is an important gift the first time you see them after the New Year. Notes should be new the banks issue special new ones each New Year. The amount for someone you don’t know much can be $10 rising to $50 for people who perform regular and important services for you. Chinese friends’ children should also be given red envelopes with a small amount inside e.g. $5. You may like to check with colleagues or friends for their advice on the amount. As Chinese distribute many red envelopes at New Year, the amount can often be quite small but should be a brand new note, in the spirit of a New Year. Suitable New Year red envelopes are available at banks, stationery shops and convenience stores.


Tipping is not generally expected for example as practised in the U.S. but a very small tip is appreciated if you would like to reward very good service, such as less than 5 yuan.

Some service businesses such as massage places present you with a form with choices of how much you would like to tip and in this case our Chinese friends advise that ticking the middle box is considered generous but not excessive.


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