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Chinese Numbers and License Plates

In 2018 China Car Times was acquired by Autowise. This article originally appeared on

We always seem to talk about cars, and never really about other things related to cars, like license plates. I saw this license plate while I was out walking today. It is nothing special to look at it, but it is a very, very unlucky number in China.

You see in China, number 4? is pronounced si (a bit like the ts sound in cats) the Chinese word for death is also si but with a different tone. So this plate is saying death death not very good so far! The number one here is pronounced as yao in Chinese, want in Chinese is also pronounced yao but again with a different tone. So all together this cars license plate is saying death death want death

Im surprised the owner even chose this plate, as Chinese are very auspicious about their numbers. Many office buildings in China dont have a 4th floor in for the very reason that it sounds like death floor

Chinese drivers will pay thousands of dollars to get a good number on their license plate, you can sometimes see some rich guys driving in their top of the range Mercs or BMWs with number plates that are just full of eights, a very good number in China! You can read more about numbers in Chinese culture here.



Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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