Tencent Holdings chairman Pony Ma has made it his company’s Lunar New Year tradition to distribute red envelopes containing money to employees as a form of spreading good wishes.
That’s why employees formed a long line outside Tencent’s new headquarters in Shenzhen’s Nanshan district on Tuesday morning anticipating some hongbao cash.
The tradition of bosses giving their employees red envelopes to start the new work year is also practiced in many other Chinese companies, South China Morning Post reports.
Some eager employees even decided to camp outside the building since before 8 p.m. on Monday, waiting overnight just to be among the first people to receive the “gifts” from Ma and other senior management officials.
The line, which led all the way up to the 48th floor of the building where the executives were, was so long that it stretched around the HQ. Based on the images that emerged online, staff members queued in the shape of a giant “fu” character, which means prosperity.
“I waited for three hours and got 200 yuan ($30) in total from the four executives,” a Tencent employee was quoted as saying. “Not everyone gets the same amount. It depends how lucky you are.”
“I got 100 yuan ($15) from Pony and 50 yuan ($7.50) respectively from other three,” another employee said. “As far as I know, Pony always gives 100 yuan and other management give 100 yuan or 50 yuan.”
Ma, who wore a bright red jumper, was joined by Tencent president Martin Lau Chi-ping, chief information officer Daniel Xu, and chief strategy officer James Mitchell during the gift-giving event.
It was not reported how much money was given away or how many employees lined up that day.
Since Tencent has over 50,000 employees stationed across China and overseas, only those based in Shenzhen were able to line up for the red packets at the HQ.
Employees situated outside Shenzhen took advantage of the digital hongbaos provided via the WeChat Red Packet that was introduced back in 2014.
One Tencent employee revealed that he received 400 yuan ($60) on his WeChat account from the company, without having to wait in a long line.