What does”number” mean to Chinese?
Talking about the number in China, it’s part of our life. No matter where you go or what you do, you can find the best way by number,
Turns out the reason was likely the same as the one behind every one of my life choices: it involved the least effort.
“Not everyone in China has perfect grasp of pinyin. If websites have pinyin names, it might actually be difficult for some people to figure out which letters to write,” she said. A string of numbers is easier to commit to memory than words in a foreign language.
Unlike the QQ IDs, the digits in a website name usually aren’t random. For instance, 163.com is the website address of Chinese internet company NetEase. It’s a throwback to the days of dial-up, when customers had to enter 163 to go online. The phone companies China Mobile and China Unicom simply re-appropriated their well-known customer service numbers as domain names, 10086.cn and 10010.cn, respectively.
This is also where homophones get involved. Among e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba’s various platforms is 1688.com, with the numbers pronounced ‘ee-lio-ba-ba’ in Mandarin.
You can order your McMuffin online by typing 4008-517-517.cn because ‘517’ in Mandarin is ‘wu yi qi’. Almost like ‘wo yao chuh’ or ‘I want to eat’. Website 51job.com sounds awfully close to ‘I want a job’. All Chinese digits are monosyllabic, making them easier to remember
It’s often something tourists might notice too. When you need to stay in an apartment, you will notice the many lift panel had no fourth floor. There was 1, there was 2 and then there were 3A and 3B. The reason is that the pronunciation of the word ‘four’ in Mandarin sounds way too close for comfort to the word for ‘death’. My real estate agent informed me, that often, apartments numbered 4 or 44 tended to be rented out to foreigners.
Number 8, on the other hand, is the luckiest, as it sounds like the Mandarin word for prosperity. Car number plates with multiple 8’s have likely been paid a fortune for by their owners.
So 748 is telling someone to go to hell, 555 basically means a crying emoji, 233 means you’re laughing, and 520 is ‘I love you’. And if you wanted to really kick it up a few notches, there’s 2010000, which means ‘I love you for 10,000 years’. How’s that for your Valentine’s Day Instagram hashtag?