Chinese Numerology, Or Spastic Statistics

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Friday’s announcement of mindblowing Chinese sales numbers must have had an effect on the minds of the reporting profession, as evidenced by a quick read of the news. They are all over the landscape.

The China Post: “China’s passenger car sales jumped 49 percent in March from a year earlier.”

Associated Press: “China’s passenger car sales jumped 63 percent in March from a year earlier” “First-quarter sales jumped 76 percent to 3.52 million units” “New motor vehicle sales in China in the first three months of the year gained 2.67 percent year on year to hit 4.98 million.”

We could go on, but we don’t want to cause heavy trauma. Two options:

1. Bookmark the above. Judicious citations will allow you to win any argument about Chinese car sales.

2. Discard the above and rely on the official CAAM numbers, as reported by Xinhua via China Daily:

All auto sales, including commercial: Up 55.79 percent from a year earlier to 1.74m units in March. First quarter up 71.78 percent to 4.61 million units.

Passenger vehicles: Up 63.22 percent to 1.26m units in March. First quarter up 76.34 percent to 3.52 million units.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Patrickj Patrickj on Apr 11, 2010

    Actually, this form of numerology in floor counting is not unique to China. The Palms Casino in Las Vegas skips numerous floor numbers to get to the 55th floor in a 40-something story building.

    • See 1 previous
    • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Apr 11, 2010

      I know that there are buildings in the US with a floor labeled as the 13th, but they seem to remain the exception.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Apr 11, 2010

    This is Chinese / Western numerology: 4 = bad 13 = bad 14 = bad 23 = (no idea...)

    • See 1 previous
    • CamaroKid CamaroKid on Apr 11, 2010

      Just like in English "8" can also mean to "eat" Chinese numbers have pronunciations that sound very much like other words... to some people the following numbers have alternate meanings 2 = fast or easy 3 = "new life", "fertility", "activity" or "growth" 4 = death 5 = change, not, no 6 = health 7 = certainty, for sure 8 = luck, riches, or wealth So some number combinations are particularly bad. For example, 24 ... Quick Death 48 ... Death to Luck or Wealth. Of course some number combinations are particularly good 28 ... Easy Money! The Chinese also like to buy into other peoples superstitions (and often misinterpret them)... If 13 is bad then they guess that 23, 33, and 43 are also bad.. since 4, 14, 24, 34 and 44 are all bad or really bad. Which isn't the case. To "old school" Chinese both 13 and 23 are considered to be "good" number combos since they both mean fertility or "growth" But the lack of 4th 14th and 24th floors in Chinese building is just as goofy as the lack of a 13th floor in North American Buildings.

  • Joeveto3 Joeveto3 on Apr 11, 2010

    Evidently, 23 has been very lucky for some basketball playing individuals...