Samsung's Note 9 has been mocked by Cantonese speakers. Photo:
Samsung's Note 9 has been mocked by Cantonese speakers. Photo:

The number nine has not been a lucky one for mobile phone makers Samsung and Apple. Last week, Samsung called its latest smartphone the Galaxy Note 9, a name that made some people in southern China smile.

Both “7” and “9” can mean “penis” in Cantonese, although they are also lucky Chinese numbers. Samsung stuck with its lucky trademark Note 9, a number which also means “longevity.”

Samsung hopes the most powerful and expensive (US$1,000) model in terms of memory (one terabyte of storage), battery life (gigantic 4,000 mAh) and size (6.4-inch Super AMOLED) outsells Apple’s new phones next month.

Two years ago, Apple drew funny headlines in the Chinese media after its iPhone 7 launch because of its slogan “This is 7,” after an earlier launch of the Galaxy Note 7, which literally translates as “stick of penis.”

To translate more accurately, “7” refers to a penis that failed to get erect, while “9” means an erect one. The number “7” turned out to be unlucky for Samsung, whose previous model exploded due to a battery problem. Most international flights banned passengers from carrying Note 7s on board.

For Apple, all the numbers from iPhone 3 to iPhone 8 have been lucky in China. These models sold well in China, the largest overseas market for Apple.

Last year, the world’s first trillion-dollar company by market capitalization launched the iPhone X, a superior model that marked the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone.

It is quite unlikely that Apple will use the name iPhone 9, according to Mobile Fun, which reported the new model will be called iPhone 2018.