The VICE Guide to Right Now

This ‘Lucky’ Phone Number Was Sold for Over $300,000 at a Chinese Online Auction

The phone number ended with five 8s, which is both rare and considered very lucky according to numerology. 
Photo: Andrea Natali / Unsplash

In Chinese culture, the number eight is considered very lucky because it sounds similar to the word for “prosperity” in Mandarin. It remains valuable to this day, so much so that a phone number that ends with five 8s actually sold for 2.25 million yuan ($324,184) in a recent online auction.

The lucky phone number was one of the assets seized and ordered auctioned by a court in Beijing, and was previously owned by an unidentified defendant. The sale attracted more than 5,000 bids between hundreds of individuals and businesses from August 15 to 16, AFP reported.


The winning bidder has paid 400 yuan ($58) to join and was given 10 days to pay the remaining sum. $300,000 is a huge amount of money for a phone number but, believe it or not, that’s not even the highest people have been willing to pay for good luck. In 2017, a phone number ending in eight 7s fetched 3.91 million yuan ($563,344) in an auction.

Because numbers with consecutive lucky numbers are rare, many grab the chance to own them in auctions, the New York Times reported.

Other numbers considered lucky in Chinese numerology are three and seven. In Mandarin, three is “san,” which sounds like the word for “birth,” while seven is “qi,” which sounds like the word for “arise.” Seven is also believed to symbolize harmony, the union of yin, yang, and the five elements (earth, water, fire, wood, metal) in Confucianism. However, seven is also considered unlucky by some because July is “ghost month.” Meanwhile, the number four is the least favoured because its pronunciation in Mandarin, “si,” sounds like the word for death.

Numerology is still a huge part of Chinese culture. Many buildings in China don’t have a fourth floor, while drivers avoid license plates ending in the number four. The 2008 Beijing Olympics, meanwhile, was packed with “good luck,” officially starting at 8:08:08 on August 8, 2008 (08/08/08).

Find Miran on Instagram.