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Unusual auction: they ask for two million dollars for a phone number because they believe it brings luck

Unusual auction: they ask for two million dollars for a phone number because they believe it brings luck

A man looks at his mobile phone in Hong Kong, China February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File

The telephone number 15666666666 went out to auction in China for an initial price of 13.6 million yuan (1.96 million dollars), according to local media.

The number, belonging to the operator ChinaUnicomwill be available for bidding starting October 10 on an auction platform of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibabareported the Netease portal.

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The number also includes a balance for calls worth 380,000 yuan ($54,900)not included in the auction price and that must be paid by the winner after the transaction.

Unlike in the West, where the number 666 has demonic connotations, in China it has a positive meaning.

People on the subway looking at their phones, Beijing, China, December 25, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File
People on the subway looking at their phones, Beijing, China, December 25, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File

In recent years, the use of “666” has become popular on social networks to express approval or admiration for its similar pronunciation with the word “cow”which is used in a similar way.

The holder of the 15666666666 will become the person with the telephone number with the most six in the country.

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Other telephone numbers that include digits considered auspicious, such as 8 or 9, are traditionally more expensive in the Asian country.

The oriental culture, very superstitious in terms of numbers, considers that four is the number of bad luck, six is ​​synonymous with good fortunethe eight of wealth and the nine of longevity and eternity.

EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY/Archive
EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY/Archive

The identification of 666 as the “number of the beast” for many Westerners first appears in the Bible’s Book of Revelations or Revelation of John.

On another occasion, more precisely in August 2020, uOne person in China paid $325,000 to keep a phone number that they also say “brings luck”.

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The original owner of the line telephone had had an inharmonious run-in with the law, and the police had seized several of his assets. Since he did not comply with the conditions imposed on him by a district judge in Chaoyang, in beijingit was decided the auction online of those possessions. Among them was one that, although intangible, came to attract more than 5,000 offers in two days and finally sold to $325,000: a mobile number ending in 88888.

In China eight is considered lucky, and five eights promise quintupled luck. Actually the word eightin Mandarin, sounds similar to prosperity, explained the AFP agency. The number eight is so valued in the country that, for example, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, in 2008, was held at 8:08 on August 8month eight.

A man wearing a face mask checks his mobile phone as he rides a subway in the morning after the extended Lunar New Year holiday caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Beijing, China February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/ File, Archive
A man wearing a face mask checks his mobile phone as he rides a subway in the morning after the extended Lunar New Year holiday caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Beijing, China February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/ File, Archive

And that’s why many phone users look for numbers with eight, particularly merchants, because it makes a good impression on customers and partners. This interest often causes overpay for a number containing two or three eights. But one with five is already rarer, and more expensive. “Just like a personalized car license plate, if it contains the right combination of numbers it can be a coveted status symbol”, explained the correspondent in Hong Kong of New York Times.

Tiffany May added that, without a doubt, the four is excluded of what is considered a correct combination: “In Mandarin, it sounds similar to the word death”. In another online auction, in 2019, a number ending in 55555 it was priced at USD 52,000: the number five is associated with emperors. But record is held by a telephone line that includes 77777777: USD 560,000 at an auction in 2017. Siete has a sound similar to “essence of life,” explained CEO Magazine when recalling the case, “and is considered a auspicious number for relationships”.

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May recalled that in September 2009 tens of thousands of couples chose 9/9/09 as wedding date: the number nine, in Mandarin, is pronounced as perpetual. In Beijing alone that day, 18,979 marriage licenses were issued, a record that even surpassed the previous one in the city: 15,646 couples on August 8, 2008.

“The perception of the value of numbers varies by region”, added the Times journalist. “In Hong Kong, where the dominant language is cantonese, the number seven sounds similar to a swear word and is associated with ghosts.” For example, a seven-course meal is never served. Even in 2015, when they were enabled numbers starting with 7 or 4 for the autonomous region, cellular operators complained.

(With information from EFE)

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