'Lucky' phone number fetches $2.19m

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 12:00am

Sichuan telecommunication authorities yesterday auctioned the telephone number 88888888 for a record 2.33 million yuan (HK$2.19 million), Xinhua reported.

The number was sold to Sichuan Airlines, which will use the number for a 24-hour customer service hotline. An additional '8' will be added to the number for long-distance callers, because Chengdu uses the area code '28'.

The agency said 100 special telephone numbers were auctioned yesterday, altogether fetching 7.13 million yuan. Most of the proceeds will be used to help Chengdu's unemployed and for a welfare fund for firefighters in the city.

Chinese consider eight to be a lucky number, being a homonym for 'prosperous'. Citizens often vie to be the owners of vehicle licence plates and telephone numbers which include the number.