back to article Hong Kong's lucky mobile number hawkers revealed

It takes just a few minutes and a handful of metro stops to travel from Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon neighbourhood Sham Shui Po (SSP), but the journey takes you to a different world. Hong Kong Island is a shining consumer paradise. SSP offers a bustling market where Hong Kong's entrepreneurial streak has collided with …


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  1. Arctic fox

    Not only the Chinese.

    What about people in our society who do their gambling based on their kid's birthday dates etc? The number 7 is traditionally regarded as lucky in the UK and many other countries in Europe. Or those (and there are a surprising number of them) who won't take any important decisions when it's Friday the 13th? Numerological superstitions/beliefs (depending on your pov) crop up in a wide variety of ways in very many societies.

  2. frank ly

    How 'bad' is 4?

    If I have a phone number with lots of '4' in it, will people be wary of calling me and not invite me to events? Does it turn into a social disgrace or is it just regarded as unlucky but amusing?

    I'd be tempted to get a number with as many 4s as possible, because of my macabre sense of humour, to give to 'special' people when asked for my number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How 'bad' is 4?

      You're much more likely to be asked for your email address. fortunately this is even easier to four up. 4four4@foursquare

    2. davemcwish

      Re: How 'bad' is 4?

      I have three 4's in my number but I'm a gweilo so is that good or bad ? And will the one '7' and one '9' offset them ?

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Four worth less than 3 and 5

      Numbers on a row of shops: 1, 2, 3, 5, ...

      Whoever owned that row of shops clearly believed he would not get as much rent for a shop numbered 4.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Please lie down on this couch and tell me about your anti-capitalistic biases...

    So are these jumped-up phone number-sellers innocent small business owners or engaged in some typically sketchy market-trader dealings designed to exploit local superstitions?

    Really, I don't see the dichotomy here. It works like this:

    1) Person A has X

    2) Person B wants X


    4) Profit on both sides!

  4. jake Silver badge



    Right up there with astrology & religion in the eyes of the ignorant. And just as useless. Humanity needs to grow up. If we don't, evolution will plow us under & try again.

    1. Psyx

      Re: ::sighs::

      Useless waste of money, eh?

      And yet most people are happy enough to pay a few grand for a 'better' badge on the front of their car, or an extra tenner for a little red tag on the pocket of their jeans. It's not so different, really.

      1. I think so I am?

        Re: ::sighs::

        The German cars are made better and are generally better cars - the badge is unimportant.

        1. Psyx

          Re: ::sighs::

          "The German cars are made better and are generally better cars - the badge is unimportant."

          That's exactly the kind of superstitious group-think thank let's down numerology, too. German cars haven't been particularly wunderbar for years. Japanese cars tend to be much better put together than any of the high-volume marques coming out of Germany. BMW and Mercedes quality dropped years ago, when they started churning out £20k rep-mobiles (VW never had much in the way of quality to start with: Just ask your mechanic). Yet people are still willing to shell out more for a Honda than a Mercedes.

          Another great example is VW/Skoda. Same cars... different trim levels, different badge, massively different price.

    2. AceRimmer

      Re: ::sighs::

      In many aspects of life "Luck" is often a state of mind. The numbers themselves might not be lucky but they can still have an effect on their owner

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ::sighs::

      "evolution will plow us under & try again"

      So you're saying you believe that fascination with the number 8 will probably cause the entire human species to be wiped out?

      Cos, you know, that sounds a lot like crazy numerology to me.

      1. jake Silver badge

        No, AC 14:03 (was: Re: ::sighs::)

        I'm saying that silly superstition is the root cause of most of the world's ills, and it's getting worse. Do learn to read for content, there's a good chap/ette.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was fun when I lived in hong kong. My bith is 8/8 and my brother had red hair.

    He was always getting his hair rubbed for luck and I would to if they found out when I was born.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A very unlucky sequence of number

    When working in Beijing, I had to set up a new PABX system. Company was Australian, but most employees were of course Chinese. We bought 50 numbers, ending in 500 to 549.

    The one ending with the 514 sequence was immediately considered unusable: it sounds like 我要死, which translates to "I will die", or "I want to die". Not something the anybody wanted when enumerating their phone number...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lucky numbers

    I booked a train using a travel agent in Xi'an and he was incredibly excited when he turned up at my hotel with the ticket. It was seat 33 in coach 3 of the 3.33pm service.

    I didn't feel very lucky when I found myself sitting opposite a flatulent toper for ten hours.

  8. The Envoy

    Lucky number? Ask Lene

  9. DanceMan

    Chinese superstitions

    Large asian population here in Vancouver. The largest Chinese population has settled in Richmond, because it sounds like "rich man". They better cross their fingers, because Richmond is the river delta of the Fraser River. Richest agricultural land in Canada, but it's been covered by sand and built up in this land scarce area. Greater Vancouver is limited by the North Shore mountains, the sea, and the US border (on the other side of that river.) Give it 50 or 100 years and Richmond will be another New Orleans -- flooded -- when our expected earthquake hits.

    Didn't have much Chinese competition when I was searching for a better condition somewhat less older Porsche 944, I later realized. If you watch the license plates here, and see an x88, or 800 on it, you can guess the driver.

    As for our gweilo superstitions, you won't find many highrises here with a 13th floor. By the way, the word means "white ghost" and I use it on myself often enough, like when I'm handed a plastic fork instead of chopsticks.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Chinese superstitions

      And in HK there are plenty of examples of block or floor 13a, to avoid the unlucky 14.

      Can we set up a profitable international trade? You send over the 13th floors, we'll ship back the 14th floors?

      The exact translation of gweilo changes according to the translator, how much they think you know, and whether they think you will be offended.

      1. DanceMan

        Re: exact translation of gweilo

        I got my translation from a Chinese Vancouverite, born here, grew up in old Chinatown. Thanks for the info.

  10. James Gosling

    Friday 13th

    Unless you are a Knight Templar there is no reason for concern on Friday 13th.

  11. Kay_terra
    Thumb Up

    Mobile networks here run algorithms to extract memorable numbers ... I used to do it for TMUK for a few years. I recall simple numbers that were sequential or had repeating sets of numbers being cheap and popular with costs of up to 1500 for a number that had the last 6 digits sequenced or identical.

    So we do it in the UK too ... I recall a rumour I heard that a customer, on hearing Orange had been allocated the 07777 prefix range offered them some obscene sum to have the 777777 suffix.

  12. david 12 Silver badge


    It may mean 'fortune furtune furtune', but my wife translates it more felicitously as 'Rich Rich Rich'.

    She was taken aback by the 8-hour-day monument adjacent to trades-hall here: 888

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