Hundreds of Tencent staff queuing for red lai see packets. Photo: weibo

Excitement over receiving their red packet (lai see in Cantonese) from the boss on the first day of work after the Chinese New Year reportedly inspired some staff at China’s Tencent Holdings to queue overnight for the blessing from Pony Ma Huateng.

A photo from social media showed a long line of people stretching from the ground floor up to the 48th floor Chairman’s office at Tencent’s corporate headquarters in Shenzhen.

The first person in the line was said to have queued from 8pm on Monday, waiting for the door to open at 8am on Tuesday. The line also formed the character for “fu”, which means “prosperity”, on the ground floor level.

Tencent chairman and founder Pony Ma Huateng Photo: weibo

The public relations gesture showed off the power of China’s richest internet king, who dressed for the occasion in a bright red jumper.

Unlike the traditional method of distributing lai see envelopes with bosses giving a way a fixed amount to every member of staff, Tencent decided to give out packets containing differing amounts. So in the end, it mattered not where you were in the line, because it all came down to luck.

Staff were also able to claim red packets from other members of senior management such as president Martin Lau Chi-ping, chief information officer Daniel Xu Chenye and chief strategy officer James Mitchell.

All these were on top of the 200 yuan WeChat lai see and 200 yuan QQ lai see given out to all of Tencent’s 45,000 staff.

This meant many had legitimate reasons to be away from their desks for much of the day. Many staff said they were spending time on social media, playing online games and viewing videos while queuing up for red packets.

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