GEORGE TOWN: Giving out ang pows is a must every Chinese New Year and the design of these traditional envelopes has been taken up a notch with silk thread embroidery red packets being introduced to the market this year.

The embroidered envelopes with motifs of peonies are considered one-of-a-kind and the first to make an appearance in Malaysia.

Chong Theng Wee, owner of a stationery store along Carnarvon Street, said these high-end envelopes were fast becoming a favourite among those seeking a different type of gifting this year.

“The ang pow is significant in Chinese culture – and over the years, the red envelopes have continuously evolved with various designs and styles.

“This year, we are seeing the first-ever embroidered motifs on red packet envelopes and this makes each envelope extremely personalised and unique.

“With many hoping to celebrate a much livelier Chinese New Year, those looking for unique envelopes will be delighted by such designs,” he said when met at his store here.

Chong, 34, said the price of these ang pow envelopes was 10 times higher than conventional ones.

“Each envelope can cost up to RM6, compared to regular envelopes, where you can get a set of six to 10 pieces for RM6.

“But some of our customers really do not mind paying for it as they want something different while others want it for their collections.

“Other than the embroidered red packet envelopes, the tiger zodiac-themed ones are a popular choice as well.

“It is considered unique as we wait 12 years for each zodiac animal’s turn, so many people are buying the tiger-themed ones this year,” he added.

Chong said sales of ang pow envelopes had dropped over the past two years, however.

“We are definitely seeing and expecting better sales this year.

“In terms of custom-printed red packet envelopes, we are also seeing less demand, especially with businesses that usually order envelopes as gifts for customers.

“Due to the sluggish economy, there may be less demand for such red packets,” he said.