|People walk past a mobile phone shop displaying lucky telephone numbers for sale in Hong Kong. Many Asian cultures consider certain numbers – such as eight – as good fortune. — AFP/VNA Photo|
BEIJING — A "lucky" mobile phone number has sold for a whopping 2.25 million yuan (US$300,000) after hundreds of people vied online for the right to use the apparently auspicious string of digits.
The number ends in five eights, a sought-after combination in China as the word "eight" in Mandarin sounds similar to the word for "prosperity".
The number was among assets seized and ordered auctioned by a court in Beijing, and an online sale attracted more than five thousand bids between Saturday and Sunday.
Phone users in China – especially companies seeking to impress clients and business partners – often pay a premium for combinations of digits considered lucky.
Eight is the most sought after digit, and so prized in China that the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing started officially at eight minutes past eight on the eighth day of August, the eighth month.
The number four, which in Mandarin sounds similar to "death", is least favoured.
The winner of Sunday's auction paid 400 yuan to join the action and has ten days to come up with the remaining sum.
A phone number ending in eight sevens holds the record on the auction platform for fetching 3.91 million yuan at a 2017 auction.
Seven sounds like "arise" or "life essence" and is considered a good number for relationships. – AFP