Chinese Number Codes For Chatting
China is the largest smartphone market in the world. In 2012, China surpassed the US in terms of smartphone shipments with 26.5 % of smartphone shipments worldwide going to the Middle Kingdom. For more information about this topic please see this Forbes article.
Everywhere you go, especially on the metro or bus, you see Chinese people playing on their phones (usually Angry Birds) or texting. Since 2012, there have been over 1 billion mobile subscribers (meaning people possessing a smartphone) in China – three times more than in the entire USA. Over 150 million of these people have subscribed for 3G access. According to an article published on mobithinking.com, “currently 15 percent of Chinese mobile subscriptions are 3G. This is slightly behind the global average of 20 percent, considerably behind developed nations at 48 percent.”
WeChat (Chinese: 微信; pinyin: Wēixìn) is China’s mostly used instant messaging service and has grown tremendously since it was launched in 2011 and has just surpassed its 300 million users.
This high popularity in instant messaging brought about an interesting trend in China: number codes. These are codes consisting of a combination of numbers with different meanings. These codes are being used like LOL, WTF, etc. Maybe you received a text message from a Chinese friend before saying something like “555” or “520” but you thought that was just some random joke or a typo? Nope! These are common Chinese number codes that you definitely need to know or else it could end in some sort of a dilemma…
Number code introduction
Of course, these numbers are not randomly chosen. Usually, every number has its own meaning. Numbers are used for these codes because their pronunciation is close to the actual Chinese word. Here are some examples:1 (pronounced yao) = 要 to want
- 1 (pronunced yao) = 要 to want
- 2 = 爱 to love
- 3 = 想 to miss or to want
- 4 = 死 to die
- 5 = 我 I, me
- 7 = 亲 to kiss
Here are some actual examples:
- 514 = 我要死 I want to die
- 56 = 无聊 bored
- 5366 = 我想聊聊 I want to chat
- 282 = 饿不饿 hungry?
- 555 = 呜呜呜 refers to: the sound of crying
Even though all these numbers share the same or similiar pronunciation the number code for “You” 你 is simply 0. Therefore, one of the most known number codes is:
- 520 = 我爱你 I love you
This code even lead to a new Valentine’s Day in China which is of course celebrated on May 20th.