Some numbers are believed by some to be auspicious or lucky (吉利, pinyin: jílì; Cantonese Yale: gātleih) or inauspicious or unlucky (不吉, pinyin: bùjí; Cantonese Yale: bātgāt) based on the Chinese word that the number sounds similar to. The numbers 2, 3, 6, and 8 are generally considered to be lucky, while 4 is considered unlucky. These traditions are not unique to Chinese culture, with other countries with a history of Han characters also having similar beliefs stemming from these concepts.
The number 0 (零, pinyin: líng) is the beginning of all things and is generally considered a good number, because it sounds like 良 (pinyin: liáng), which means 'good'.
The number 1 (一, pinyin: yī; Cantonese Yale: yāt) is neither auspicious nor inauspicious. It is a number given to winners to indicate the first place. But it can also symbolize loneliness or being single. For example: November 11 is the Singles' Day in China, as the date has four ‘1’ which stand for singles.
The number 3 (三, pinyin: sān; Cantonese Yale: sāam) sounds like 生 (pinyin: shēng; Cantonese Yale: sāang), which means "to live" or "life" so it's considered a good number. It's significant since it is one of three important stages in a person's life (birth, marriage, and death). On the other hand, number 3 (三,pinyin: sān; Cantonese Yale: sāam) sounds like 散 (pinyin: sàn; Cantonese Yale: saan) which means "to split" or "to separate" or "to part ways" or "to break up with" so it is a bad number too.
Thus, some buildings in East Asia omit floors and room numbers containing 4, similar to the Western practice of some buildings not having a 13th floor because 13 is considered unlucky.
Where East Asian and Western cultures blend, such as in Hong Kong, it is possible in some buildings that the thirteenth floor along with all the floors with 4s to be omitted. Thus a building whose top floor is numbered 100 would in fact have just eighty one floors. Similarly in Vietnamese, the number 4 (四) is called tứ in Sino-Vietnamese, which sounds like tử (死) (death) in Vietnamese.
The number 6 (六, pinyin: liù) in Mandarin sounds like "slick" or "smooth" (溜, pinyin: liū). In Cantonese, 6 (Cantonese Yale: lok6) sounds like "good fortune" or "happiness" (祿, 樂 Cantonese Yale: lok6).
Therefore 6 is considered a good number for business.
The number 7 (七, pinyin: qī) in Mandarin sounds like "even" in Mandarin (齊, pinyin: qí), so it is a good number for relationships. It also sounds like "arise" (起, pinyin: qǐ) and "life essence" (氣, pinyin: qì) in Mandarin.
Seven can also be considered an unlucky number since the 7th month (July) is a "ghost month". It also sounds like "to deceive" (欺, pinyin: qī) in Mandarin.
In Cantonese, 7 (Cantonese Yale: chāt) sounds like 𨳍 (Cantonese Yale: chat), which is a vulgar way of saying "penis".
The Asian Americanmass media company 88rising (known primarily for being the record label of artists such as Joji and Rich Brian) adopted the name in 2016, and has referenced its symbolism in the titles of several events, including the 2018 US tour 88rising Double Happiness.
Singapore Airlines reserves flight numbers beginning with the number 8 for flights to Mainland China, Hong Kong (except SQ1/2 to and from San Francisco via Hong Kong) and Taiwan (i.e. a typical flight between Singapore and Hong Kong would be numbered SQ856/861).
SriLankan Airlines reserves flight numbers beginning with the number 8 for flights to Mainland China and Hong Kong.
The US Treasury has sold 70,000 dollar bills with serial numbers that contain 4 eights.
Boeing delivered the 8,888th 737 to come off the production line to Xiamen Airlines. The airplane, a Next-Generation 737–800, features a special livery commemorating the airplane's significance.
In Singapore, a breeder of rare Dragon fish (Asian Arowana, which are "lucky fish" and being a rare species, are required to be microchipped), makes sure to use numbers with plenty of eights in their microchip tag numbers, and appears to reserve particular numbers especially rich in eights and sixes (e.g., 702088880006688) for particularly valuable specimens.
As part of grand opening promotions, a Commerce Bank branch in New York's Chinatown raffled off safety deposit box No. 888.
An "auspicious" numbering system was adopted by the developers of 39 Conduit Road Hong Kong, where the top floor was "88" – Chinese for double fortune. It is already common in Hong Kong for ~4th floors not to exist; there is no requirement by the Buildings Department for numbering other than that it being "made in a logical order." A total of 43 intermediate floor numbers are omitted from 39 Conduit Road: those missing include 14, 24, 34, 54, 64, all floors between 40 and 49; the floor number which follows 68 is 88.
Similar to the common Western practice of using "9" for price points, it is common to see "8" being used in its place to achieve the same psychological effect. So for example menu prices like $58, $88 are frequently seen.
5354 (Cantonese Yale: ńg sāam ńg sei) in Cantonese sounds like "唔生唔死" (Cantonese Yale: m̀ sāang m̀ séi) meaning "not alive not dead", referring to being in a miserable state like one is almost dead.
7456 (pinyin: qī sì wǔ liù) in Mandarin sounds like "气死我了" (pinyin: qì sǐ wǒ le) meaning "to make me angry" or "to piss me off".
9413 (pinyin: jiǔ sì yī sān; Cantonese Yale: gáu sei yāt sāam) sounds like "九死一生" (pinyin: jiǔ sǐ yī shēng; Cantonese Yale: gáu séi yāt sāang; lit. 'nine die one live') meaning 90% chance of being dead and only 10% chance of being alive, or survived such situations (a narrow escape).