Chinese Numbers: NetEase and Others

Why is “NetEase” known as 163.com? Originally, China Telecom (电信) and China Mobile (移动) we’re both part of China Post (邮政局). During those days, Chinese people who wanted to use the internet all dialed up via modem to: 163. That’s right, 163 was the phone number to access the internet – no other digits required. In those days, you would buy a pre-paid card to get a temporary username and password.

Why 6.cn, 56.com, ku6.com? In Chinese 6 is just a very lucky number. When Chinese people turn 60, it’s a very big deal – called “dàshòu (大寿)”. Why 60? Because it means that you went through all 12-years of the terrestrial cycle shēngxiào (生肖) 5-times.

Nine is also a lucky number both because 9 is the biggest number and it sounds like “久” (jiu) – the word for permanence.

Of course 8 is the luckiest of them all. Why? Because 8, in Chinese is pronounced “bā” which is very similar to “fā”, as in fācái (发财) – to get rich!

There are also lots of times you’ll see “168”. Why? 168 means “一路发” (yi lu fa) – the road to riches.

However 0, 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 don’t have any special meaning. They’re neither positive or negative.

Office on the 4th floor? Not likely, because most Chinese buildings don’t have a 4th floor. The Chinese word for death sǐ (死) sounds a lot like the number 4 (四), pronounced sī. Most western buildings don’t have a 13th floor.

On that note, do you know why western culture is sensitive to the number 13? Legend has it Friday the 13th was the day Jesus was crucified, additionally the 13th guest at the last supper was Judas – the apostle who betrayed Jesus to the romans resulting in crucifixion. Ancient Persians, assigning the twelve constellations of the Zodiac to the months of the year, and though the 13th represented the destruction that would follow the completion of the Zodiac cycle. More about unlucky 13.

8 thoughts on “Chinese Numbers: NetEase and Others”

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