Risking it All on Lucky Numbers
The Chinese are infatuated with lucky numbers and this love extends to their businesses. The belief in good and bad luck can play a big role in whether a business is prepared to take chances; thus, any person looking to buy or sell domain names in the Chinese market needs to understand how numbers in Chinese culture affects the value of numeric domains.
While most people can recall days when good things and bad things happened to them, some people believe that luck is an attribute that can be possessed to influence the likelihood of other external events happening. Chinese businesses are no different. Many such businesses have benefited socially and financially from being seen as “lucky” because they are represented by auspicious numbers.
For example, good things come in pairs and triples, so the numbers 2 and 3 are lucky numbers in China. So are the numbers 7 and 9 because of usage and positive cultural associations. The Chinese also regard the number 0 as lucky, provided it is an ending number and not the beginning of a sequence. Fewer digit domains have high value; however, this does not mean that a 6 number domain cannot be valuable. It might be that the longer numeric domain sounds like lucky expressions in the Chinese language, which would make it very valuable. Ultimately, the most sought after domain names for Chinese businesses may have the numbers 6 or 8 because they believe these numbers will bring them good fortune. Both numbers connote wealth. In fact, having multiple 8s is considered very lucky indeed.
The U.S. Treasury Department recently sold 44,000 fresh, uncirculated one-dollar bills to one person for $5.95 apiece simply because the bills had four number eights in a row in their serial numbers — a sign of luck to many Asians. More than 70,000 of these “prosperity notes” were sold world-wide, so it was definitely fortunate for the US Treasury Department.
Catering to this growing market means knowing what numbers hold the key for success and harmonious business life in China. It also means knowing that it is equally important to avoid unlucky numbers as it is to secure good ones. Many Chinese businesses do not want anything to do with the number 4 because they regard it as unlucky for sounding too close to “death” in Chinese. Accordingly, domains containing the number 4 will have a low market value, sometimes 50-70% less than a similar domain without a 4. With that said there are always exceptions and the eNaming brokerage has performed very well recently with such domains. Few of our past sales with the number 4 were 419.com for US$ 150k and 458.com for US $140K.
Only domain name owners that know how to identify value for Chinese buyers will be successful in this market. Believing in luck is useful because it promotes optimism for circumstances that are beyond a business’ control and helps foster a group psychology that helps in coping with chance events. This sort of faith may also motivate a business to put in extra effort to succeed. But it won’t benefit an inexperienced domain name owner who does not understand Chinese culture when appraising his or her own domain names.
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