One of the greatest joys of being here is the vast differences in culture and the cultural onion that allows for small daily discoveries.
Today was an International Women’s Day so our boss took us – all of the women – to the restaurant for lunch. She took us to a restaurant owned by one of our student’s parents. As in most a little bit upper-scale restaurants in Yanzhou, we had a private room. The room number was 888. When leaving, I looked at the doors of other rooms and they were all numbered 588, 688, 788 and so on accordingly.
8 is a special number in China. “No. 8 has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture. With pronunciation of ‘Ba’ in Chinese, no. 8 sounds similar to the word ‘Fa’, which means to make a fortune. It contains meanings of prosperity, success and high social status too, so all business men favor it very much. Moreover, in some areas of China, people prefer to pay much more money for a telephone number with 8 in it. They also favor residences on the eighth floor of buildings. In 1990s, a vehicle identification number with 8 was once auctioned off for 5 million Hong Kong dollars.” (from Travel China Guide)
I also recall an article about an I-phone cross-country pricing. It mentioned the prices of phones in China often end with 88:)