Near campus, there are construction sites for apartments, and one of them has this writing on it:

打井 with phone numbers

Repeatedly written is 打井 (dǎjǐng) = "to dig a well", along with a phone number. It's possible that these are all advertising some kind of well-digging service, but it seems an unexpected place to choose to advertise, especially when there's more than one of them. It makes me think there's more to this story.

Question: Why are people writing 打井 (dǎjǐng) = "to dig a well" on this construction site wall?

The other words seem to be:

  • 降水井 (jiàngshuǐ jǐng) = precipitation well

  • 废品 (shōu fèipǐn) = waste collection

  • 5
    I think that is '打 #' following by the actual phone numbers. (meaning 'dial the following numbers' ; or 打 '#' (punch # key) after you dialed the numbers. Those seems to be ads
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 0:55
  • 4
    @droooze this is kinda misleading. Apparently, it's the character 井,not a # sign.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:29
  • 3
    @droooze I'm pretty sure it's 井, especially there is a phrase 降水井.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:53
  • 2
    @droooze those ads were not written by only ONE vendor! Apparently, there are competitions out there. I suspect you have seldom seen this kind of ads within mainland. Those who wrote this kind of ads never pay more attentions on their writings.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 2:12
  • 4
    I believe OP is @ 南开, so there must just literally be a large need for well digging in Tianjin. There is even a 贴吧 especially for advertising: tieba.baidu.com/…
    – Mou某
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 3:26

6 Answers 6


I myself as a Chinese can tell you that they are all advertisements for well digging, as those places are near the countryside where some villagers might need well for water, therefore those people with the equipment seek those opportunities by these advertisements. The number follows are phone numbers.


This and many things like it are what is considered 非法小广告 or illegal small advertisements. No surface is really safe from these ads.

Essentially it's graffiti used to advertise some business or service. Its legitimacy is questionable and is considered a reckless nuisance to public image by local officials. Efforts have been made is some cities to terminate numbers associated with these ads. Theses ads are refered to some as 乱涂写 or “牛皮癣” (psoriasis) to refer to their unsightliness.

The following is a public notice from the Xiangtan City Administrative Commission of theses types of small ads and the type of services advertised:


You can say that this is the equivalent of advertising/graffiti you see on bathroom stalls or walls in some countries. Even if you ask locals about theses ads, they seem too shady for most to inquire about.

  • Thank you for providing this. Anything on 打井, further down the list perhaps? 辦證 has already been mentioned in another answer, I don't see why 打井 appears in hardly any searches.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:18
  • 1
    OP does not give context of the region specifically. So it may just be an small ad for labor based on regional projects. I. E. 打井 ads in places with public 深井排污 projects. See: finance.sina.com.cn/china/20130316/053914852225.shtml
    – Krazer
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:34

While 打井 indeed means "digging a well", it is also used as a euphemism for sex (you can Google something like 打井是什麽意思), so 打井1234567 can potentially mean to call 1234567 for sex.

  • 1
    There's an interesting post here. tieba.baidu.com/…
    – dan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 6:11
  • 3
    Most people would not take it as sexual thing, unless it's described as the way in that post. I tend to believe that the ads from OP's just meant its literal meaning.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 6:14
  • 1
    @dan OP mentions the photos were taken "near campus" (I assume this is a university campus). I'd be much less inclined to think it was really for digging wells if this campus is located far away from rural areas, where well-digging services are often required. Anyway, we really wouldn't know the real answer unless we ask the locals living where the photos are taken.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 6:23
  • 2
    My final comment: as long as you can list all the reliable sources for your answer, +1. Otherwise, this is misleading. For my 20+ years living in mainland China I have never heard of such interpretation of 打井.
    – WDC
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 15:08
  • 3
    It doesn't explain 降水井 and 打井降水 at all. So I'll not waste my time explaining how absurd this idea is and why.
    – user23013
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 19:19

I searched "打井降水" on a Chinese search engine. The results show that it means digging(打) a well(井) and pumping water out, to lower(降) the groundwater(水,地下水) and keep the construction site dry, i.e. dewatering. Therefore I think they are advertisements targeting the construction site.


Those are ads. You can call those numbers for digging a well 打井. And there's a number for waste collection 收废品. I'm not sure why they put that 打井 ad there, but there should be some potential customer needs there.


Maybe you just curious about well-digging, this is very common in China, almost all fields in north need irrigation by mechanical well, 机井 runs by water pump.

I don't know the reason behind this, it is not good, mass 机井 will deplete underground water, but it seems people don't have other choice. :(

What a strange question, Who the heck knows why they are advertising there, it may be:

The construction builder also supply well-digging service.

The builder live near by the construction.

They dig a well for a customer near by the construction once.

Somebody know the digger, he just advertising randomly to act like a middle man.

The text has been there along with the metal plank.



This is a strangest advertising, 办证(Fake certificates) , the text is written all over China, they all have same font type like written by same guy.

This mysterious has confused Chinese many years.

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  • Totally right! I suspect only the locals know what those messages are supposed to mean.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:40

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