A for­tu­nate per­son


The Chi­nese term “jinli” is be­ing used to de­scribe a Chi­nese woman with the user­name “xinx­i­ao­dai” who won a lottery, which in­cluded hun­dreds of items from ma­jor brands, run by the e-pay­ment arm of the Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba.

Jinli is ac­tu­ally an old Chi­nese term that lit­er­ally means koi carp. The fish, which were com­monly kept by an­cient im­pe­rial and no­ble fam­i­lies as pets, have re­mained sym­bols of wealth and for­tune in China for cen­turies. “A carp that jumped over the Golden Gate,” for ex­am­ple, is a clas­si­cal Chi­nese say­ing to de­scribe an or­di­nary per­son who has achieved great suc­cess in their ca­reer. In mod­ern China, so­cial me­dia users fre­quently share pictures of koi carp be­liev­ing the fish will bring them good for­tune.

Jinli has shifted in mean­ing to re­fer to the “luck­i­est per­son” fol­low­ing xinx­i­ao­dai's suc­cess. In some cases her pic­ture has re­placed that of the koi carp as the new “lucky charm.” Many com­pa­nies are now rush­ing to launch sim­i­lar lot­ter­ies in the hope of boost­ing sales.

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