Why Alibaba's $68 is a lucky number

Number 68
Johnnie Pakington | Getty Images

The expected $68 price per share for Alibaba's IPO is a lucky number for the Chinese.

The word for "eight" in Mandarin Chinese is "ba," which sounds similar to the word signifying the arrival of good fortune. Although none of the Chinese characters for Alibaba are the ones for "eight," the last two words have the same lucky "ba" sound.

The Chinese word for "six" is also traditionally considered an auspicious number, and there's a Chinese saying that goes "double six, great future."

In all, a pricing of $68 a share for Alibaba would combine the good luck of both "six" and "eight" with hopes of great success.

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Many had originally speculated that Alibaba's IPO would have come on August 8, literally the eighth day of the eight month in Chinese, for maximum charm.

In terms of bad luck, other Chinese superstitions include avoidance of "four," which sounds like the word for dead—"si." Many Chinese buildings skip the fourth floor, just as Western ones often omit the 13th.

On Thursday, Alibaba gave the New York Stock Exchange a Tao Doll, a more larger version of the pint-sized mascot for the company's e-commerce site Taobao. Rather than the original orange, the doll is blue and covered with symbols of Chinese mythology.

—By CNBC.com