Lucky Numbers

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As a follow up to Name Games earlier this week, underscoring the importance of auspicious and aspirational brand names in China, don’t forget the high value the Chinese place on numbers, particularly the number 8 which is a homonym for “prosper” or “get rich.” Other auspicious and highly sought after numbers are 9 (which has the same pronunciation as the word for “perpetual” or “forever”, making it popular at weddings), 5 (associated with emperors) and 7 (a homonym for “life’s spirit”) . The number to avoid is 4 which is the numerological equivalent of “death”.

To give you an idea of how serious the Chinese are about their numbers, a recent story in the New York Times reported that a Chinese phone number ending in five 8s, which was among the assets seized from a defendant who had failed to comply with a court order, attracted 5,000 bids at an online auction and “ultimately sold for US$325,000”. They go on to say that “a phone number that ended in five 5s was sold for US$52,000 in an online auction last year, and a number with eight 7s was auctioned for US$560,000 in

Of course, having an auspicious phone number has its disadvantages. The NYT reports that “after spending $3,000 on a number that contained three 8s, a man in Zhejiang was barraged with late-night calls from strangers after it was presented as the phone number of a villain in a television show. The man had since changed his number”.


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