Pushing the red envelope

08:41, February 23, 2010      

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When it comes to New Year's gift money, students nowadays are a little savvier about putting that present to work. Instead of letting their money sit in the bank or using it to buy trendy new threads, some students headed for the stock market with the hopes of turning their "little red envelope," or hong bao, into a big golden check.

"I've taken some economics courses on stock trading and always wanted to try it out," said Niu Jie, a finance junior attending Dalian University of Technology.

Niu took in about 4,000 yuan ($585) from relatives this year. Considering things like beer and KTV a waste, and depositing his cash in the bank not exciting enough, Niu thought he'd put half his money to work for him, an amount he felt comfortable risking in case his stocks took a dive.

"If I lose it, it won't have any real big effect on my life," he added.

Niu also said that he would spend a little time studying the stock market every day, treating it as a new course he is taking this semester.

"I hope to get an excellent 'score' at the end of year, because I am thinking of giving some of my profit as hongbao to my parents next year."

But as the market opened Monday for the first time since the holiday, Niu's found his stocks didn't do as well as he had thought, losing 60 yuan. However, this is hardly discouraging as Niu sets his sights on the long term.

"Losing a little doesn't matter, the most important thing is that I'm gaining experience," he said.

Students are not only trading stocks, but also looked to turn a quick profit by investing their gift money right away, capitalizing on the spike in consumption during the holidays.

Hearing from her relatives in Nanjing that many local residents are buying traditional lanterns during the Spring Festival, Zhang Jiali, an English junior at Wenzhou University, took her 600 yuan in gift money and invested in opening a lantern stall at the Nanjing Confucius Temple Pedestrian Street with her cousin.
"On the wholesale market, a lantern sells for 0.6 yuan in bulk, but on the pedestrian street, the same lantern goes for 20 yuan," she said.

And Zhang's new year is already looking good: She raked in 6,000 yuan, 10 times her initial investment.

"We thought that if the business went bad, we would just travel around Nanjing for a few days. But the lanterns sold so well that we were busy from 7 am till midnight, and had no time to think of anything else," said Zhang.

Zuo Qing, mother of a Beijing-based university student who gave her daughter a hongbao this year, speaks highly of students who invest their money in a more effective and meaningful way.

"Money itself is not a big thing, but to know how to make full use of it is what matters," said Zuo.

"If gift money can help cultivate fiscal responsibility in my daughter and she invests wisely, I'll be much more willing to give her more next year."

Source: Global Times(By Liu Meng)
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