SHANGHAI - At a telecom office in China's largest city Shanghai, customers come to send messages to loved ones using technology almost 200 years old.

The city was one of the first in the country to adopt the telegram and continues to operate the service despite massive advances in communications technologies.

The rapid proliferation of smartphones and instant messaging systems that can relay messages back and forth in a matter of split-seconds has made the telegram largely redundant but there is more to using the telegram than speed.

Al Jazeera spoke to one user, Wu Can, who said the continued appeal of the service was due to the sentimentality associated with it.

"It is nostalgic for my parents. They are from a time when people used to write letters, so this will be like a souvenir for them to keep," Can said.

The telegram message she sent to her parents will take a week to arrive, but the text message she sent to let them know its on its way arrived immediately.

But how long the sense of nostalgia can keep the service running remains to be seen.

Source: Al Jazeera