Twitter unveils first-ever Lunar New Year emojis

Twitter has released its first-ever Chinese New Year emoji in a bid to increase user engagement over Asia's premier holiday period and become the leading social platform for celebrations.

The hongbao, or red envelope used for gift giving, will appear on tweets containing special hashtags, including #KungHeiFatChoy, #HappyCNY and #GongXiFaCai.

Kung Hei Fat Choy means "wishing you a prosperous new year" in Cantonese, as does Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin.

Besides the hongbao emoji, account holders can also check their fortunes for the upcoming year.

When users send a tweet to the English-language website of the China News Service with their birth year followed by the hashtag #CNYfortune, they receive a reply with a Year of the Monkey fortune based on their Chinese zodiac sign.

Despite being banned on the mainland, Twitter hopes the new emoji will appeal to the more than 1.3 billion Chinese people around the world celebrating the Year of the Monkey, which begins February 8.

Every year, top brands release a slew of themed campaigns to tap robust demand from the world's second-largest economy ahead of the week-long festive period that emphasizes gift-giving and purchasing new clothes.

Twitter has announced similar campaigns for New Year's Eve and Christmas in the past, as more social media users use the holiday periods to celebrate online.

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