Lucky Numbers in China


Almost every culture has its own lucky and unlucky numbers and a “number” of reasons and explanations that explain the special story behind each of them. China is no exception. There are plenty of unfortunate and lucky numbers in China and each has its own tale. Who knows, maybe your cell phone number is helping you ring in good fortune or the number of your apartment could be the reason that bad luck keeps appearing at your door.

The way that lucky and unlucky numbers were determined in Chinese culture is based on the homophones of the words. The number “eight” sounds similar to the word meaning "prosper" or "wealth." Six sounds like the verb “to flow,” which considered good for business. When you’re bargaining with a Chinese company your price is considered to be more acceptable when it contains the lucky numbers 8 or 6.

Even numbers are traditionally luckier than odd numbers. When you give a present to your Chinese business partner, even numbered gifts are always better than odd ones. However you should never, ever give someone something in a set of four. Why? Four is China’s unluckiest number and it sounds almost exactly like the Chinese word for death. In a country where it is easy for people to choose their own phone numbers, the ones free of the number four are the most popular. Some buildings even skip the floors 4, 14, and 40 to ensure that no harm comes to the inhabitants.

If you’d like to know more about Chinese culture or business etiquette with Chinese people, please contact us here at Mandarin House. We’re the experts in cultural communication with the certifications to prove it!

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