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Lucky and unlucky numbers
Every culture seems to consider certain numbers either lucky or unlucky. It is also interesting to note that in one culture a certain number is lucky when according to another  unlucky. According to Chinese beliefs each number has its individual meaning, strength and power. Based on this we have the Chinese numerology which shows relationship between numbers and life.

Whether the number is lucky or not depends on many factors. Easiest to determine is to check whether  the number are odd or even. Even numbers are luckier than  odd . It is because even numbers are associated with yang energy (with the living) when odd numbers are associated with the yin energy (with the deceased), this of course is not always so, The even exception is number 4 which is considered unlucky.

When you give a gift in form of money it is commonly known among Chinese to always give even numbers. Odd numbers are associated with donation for funerals.


Another way of determining the fortune of the number is to listen how it sounds when pronounced in Chinese. This is a reason why number 4, even though an even number, is considered very negative. Actually, number 4, is said to be the most negative bearing number because it sounds like “death”. Same is with number 14, which as well is considered to carry negative vibes.

Number 13 is considered negative just because it adds up to 4. In many commercial buildings owned by Chinese individuals of Taoist faith, you will notice that  the elevator never shows  floor numbers 4,13, 14, 24, 34 or 64( of course if the building reaches those heights), sometimes those floors simply do not exist being replaced by the next available numeral. In Hong Kong this is a common practice to miss all  negative floors.

I do not think that any Chinese person would actually buy an apartment number 4, phone number which ends with number 4, or have a car registration with number 4 if they can help it. This is a number which is definitely avoided.

Numbers and their meanings.

1 – new beginning, loneliness, masculine.


2 – it symbolizes couples, pairs, so it is considered auspicious. Moreover there is a saying “Good things come in pairs” so it is considered positive number.


3 – It is a positive number because it is associated with birth.


4 – The most negative because it has connotations with word death.


5 – It is a positive number, even though it is an odd number, because it symbolize 5 elements, which are: water, wood, fire, earth and metal.( stand alone accepted but varies with combinations).


6 – It is associated with business and happiness so therefore it is considered very lucky.


7 – It is an odd number, however it is associated with togetherness so it is lucky and unlucky, quite neutral but the Japanese loves this number.


8 – this is the luckiest number for all Chinese people. It sounds like prosperity and wealth. Chinese people are famous for paying a lot of money to have license plate, phone number, apartment number with number 8. The shape of this number resembles infinity shape so it is associated with never ending money flowing to the business or individual, depending where it is being used.


Many flights to and from China have triple 8 in their flight number. Chinese people believe that working on the 8th day of their 15 day Chinese New Year celebrations is a good omen .

Have you ever pondered why in 2008 the Olympics held in Beijing, China was inaugurated on 08.08.08 at 8minutes and 8 seconds after 8 pm? That is definitely not a coincidence. It was planned on this date and hour because they believed that if they do so, it will bring good fortune to their athletes and China will win most amount of gold medals during the games, and so they did. They held the pole position of 51 gold medals while USA’s haul was only 36 gold medals.


9 – is very lucky as well. It is associated with happiness, longevity and eternity. The luckiest combination of numbers is 98. What is interesting is that whatever number you add to 9 and the single digits of the sum you add again you will get the number you added to 9. For example: 9+4 = 13. 3+1=4


Chinese people are known for spending a lot of money to get the most auspicious phone number, license plate etc. Here are few examples.


In 1994 a provincial Chinese businessman paid 1.7 million USD for a car license plate with the number 9


Telephone number with all eights were sold for USD $270, 723


Such is the power of belief and merits certain culture place on the power of numbers, I hope this article brings you the uninitiated closer to understanding how to deal with Chinese businessmen and the Chinese and what they might and might not accept when being invoiced. Try offering services with 8’s rather than 4’s in billings,  Hotels could offer room numbers with 8,s in them and watch these people smile, real estate agents could offer a figurative 8 in their offers .Do take note that the Chinese economy will soon rank the highest in the world  and knowing our soon to be very important clients and their habits and beliefs are definitely a plus.


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