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China’s “Love Day” gives businesses a boost

China’s “Love Day” gives businesses a boost

Chinese love numbers!

By Katrina Lin

We all know Chinese people like to apply special meanings to numbers, such as the number “8” represents prosper and number “4” is avoided because it sounds like death. Although these custom seem superstitious and outdated in the Chinese young generation’s the habit of linking numbers to meanings is still popular.

Unlike the older generation, young Chinese are not a big fans of numbers that relate to money or death. However, when numbers represent romance and shopping, their old traditions kick in.

Yesterday was May 20. The Chinese use number 1-12 to represent January through to December – as May is the fifth month of the year, “5” is “May”. The Chinese pronunciation of “520” sounds like “I love you” (wo ai ni) 5 means “I”, 2 means “love”, 0 means “you”. This is an example of using numerical digits for their similar pronunciation of daily expressions and it was initially used in mobile and cyberspace communications.

Couples choose May 20 to celebrate, buy gifts to each other, propose or even marry. More and more businesses try to leverage the marketing potential of numbers to maximise their sales profits.

Of course, these numbers are not randomly chosen, therefore try to apply the correct and positive meaning to numbers and avoid culturally offensive connotation is essential for businesses to succeed.

“11” is another interesting number in the Chinese urban dictionary, as explained earlier, November is the 11th month of the year, therefore November 11 represents “double 11”; the date is chosen to be special because of the connection between singles and the number “1”. Young bachelors in China choose this particular day to party, drink with friends or shopping to celebrate their single lives.

Nowadays, Singles’ Day has been largely popularized and more people join in the celebration regardless their relationship status. November 11 has become “the 11.11 Shopping Festival” and brings great opportunity for companies targeting younger consumers, including restaurants, Karaoke and online shopping sites. Over the years, a lot of businesses made success in those peculiar days by running sales campaigns. E-commerce giant, Alibaba (Ebay’s Chinese equivalent) sold 57.1 billion CNY (around 10 billion AUD) of goods on November 11 last year.

Usually, every number has its own meaning, they are used for certain codes because their pronunciation and linkage with Chinese traditional culture. Here are some examples:
0 (pronunced ling) = 你 (meaning: you)
2 (pronunced er) = 爱 (meaning: love)
3 (pronunced samm) = 生(meaning: birth and considered a lucky number)
4 (pronunced si) = 死 (meaning: death)
5 (pronunced wu) = 我 (meaning: I or me)
6 (pronunced liu/lok) = 流/禄 (meaning: to flow or wealth therefore considered good for business)
8 (pronunced ba) = 发 (meaning: wealth, lucky and success therefore good for financial institutions to use)

1314 (pronounced yi san yi si) = 一生一世 (meaning: forever)

Therefore, the number combination “5201314” means “I love you forever”.

Mother’s Day… in many cultures

Mother’s Day… in many cultures

By Cynthia Nilsen

Our annual calendar is made up of numerous official and unofficial holidays and observances, many which we may not personally follow or be completely aware of. Have you ever heard of Tree Hugging Day or Wombat Day? Didn’t think so!
Whilst we don’t always get a public holiday to remind us of them, there are some unofficial holidays which have stood the test of time – such as the one recognising the importance of mums all around the world.

Mother’s Day is a modern western tradition which honours motherhood and is celebrated across the globe at different times throughout the year. However, it most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and involves the giving of flowers, cards and gifts, or doing something special such as cooking breakfast for mum.

The history of Mother’s Day dates back to the year 1914 when Mother’s Day become an unofficial holiday in the United States. It was created by Anna Jarvis, who after the death of her own mum in 1905, wanted to honour the sacrifices mothers made for their children.

In Australia, our current Mother’s Day tradition is believed to have originated in Sydney in 1924, as an initiative by Janet Heyden. Wanting to cheer up many lonely and forgotten mothers at the Newington State Home for Women, Janet rallied support from local school children and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. The initial support she received grew each year thereafter and is now celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

In Australia, the chrysanthemum is traditionally given for Mother’s Day, as it is naturally in season during autumn and also ends in ‘mum’, whereas in China, where Mother’s Day is becoming more and more celebrated, the most popular flower for the occasion is the carnation.

Despite the western origins of Mother’s Day, people in China accept it as being in line with the country’s traditional ethics to respect the elderly. Dating back centuries, the Chinese are intimately familiar with the concept of filial piety or ‘xiao shun’ – which describes the correct way to act towards ones parents.

Confucius, an influential philosopher, teacher and political figure during the Zhou Dynasty, considered filial piety an imperative moral conduct. To the Chinese, it is their central ideology, and provides the foundation for all other behaviours.
With the underlying similarities of the East and West marking this unofficial holiday, there are opportunities for brands to resonate and communicate directly with the Chinese. Philips is one such brand which has recently engaged with this community through Chinese social media and with their special cash back retail offer.

As Mother’s Day is approaching this weekend don’t forget to set aside some time just to say thanks. I’m sure she would love to hear from you!