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  • Writer's pictureYunzhou Li

Want sage marketing advice during Chinese New Year? You need to read this

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Happy Chinese New Year! I wish everyone wealth and prosperity in the year of the Ox.

I was celebrating CNY Eve with some friends and the highlight of the night was that after our incredible feast, we played UNO and at the end everyone was left with an “8” card. It made our night, and in fact, it has made our year.

Why do Chinese people love the number 8 so much? In Cantonese, the pronunciation of 8 sounds similar to “fa” (meaning wealth and fortune), so many people in Hong Kong think that 8 is an auspicious number. Such thinking was featured in movies and TV series in the 80s, which influenced people all around China.

Also, Number “6” has a long history of being another lucky number in China. Pronounced similar to “lu” (meaning road), 6 is used to wish people “flow on every road”, implying that “everything goes well”.

The numbers 6 and 8 are always used together for Chinese New Year Hongbaos (red packets with money in them). If you are planning to give Hongbaos for Chinese New Year, you will never go wrong if you give amounts that use a 6 and 8: $88 (double fortune), $168 (fortune all the way), $188 (wish one gets fortune). If you don’t have a large budget, $8 in the red packet would show your best wishes and bring good luck to your friend or family.

Now it’s time for you to guess what the day 8th August represents in China.

If your answer is “Fortune Day”, congratulations, you’ve got the hang of Chinese culture already!

Except that 8th August is actually “Fitness Day” in China in celebration of the Beijing Olympics which was held on 8th August, 2008. Of course, if you run a sport brand, sell sports wears, make fitness food, it could be your “fortune day”!

My business partner asked me what my top advice for Chinese New Year marketing is - here it is:

Find a trusted marketing partner who would tell you that the first three days of CNY may not be the best time to spend your advertising dollars (unless you are a multi-billion company or you just want to find way to spend the huge budget you have). Be prepared for the dramatic increase of ad bidding prices, and furious competition with not only the big brands but also the smaller ones who are told to “take advantage of CNY”.

And above all, if someone who does not even celebrate Chinese New Year talks to you about China Marketing, run.

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