Mind if I butt in? The Year of the Yang belongs to sheep and goats.THERE is much conjecture about whether this year belongs to the goat, the ram or the sheep because Chinese use the same word “yang” for all three. Whatever your preference, it starts on February 19.

Here’s five things worth knowing about this woolly year:

It’s not lucky1. Of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, the goat is believed to be one of the most unlucky.

There is an old saying that only one out of 10 people born in the Year of the Goat will find happiness. But in the money stakes the goats do all right.

According to the Hurun Global Rich List, 8.3 per cent of the world’s billionaires were born in the Year of the Goat, which in recent times included 2003, 1991, 1979 and 1967. That places them in the middle of the pack, below snakes, horses and dragons but well above the pigs and the roosters.

Sorting sheep from goats2. It’s important to note the celebrity goats.

In China, among the most famous are current Premier Li Keqiang, actress Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame and the Empress Dowager Cixi, who effectively ruled China for almost five decades until 1908. In Australia, they include actress Nicole Kidman, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and former Prime Minister Paul Keating. One-time Australian Rupert Murdoch was also born in the Year of the Goat.

Economic boom?3. In 2003, the last goat year, China’s economy grew by 10 per cent.

The Hang Seng Index rose by 50 per cent that same year. However, the Hong Kong market is in for a less spectacular performance this time around, according to CLSA’s tongue-in-cheek Feng Shui Index. The broker says it will “be a smooth and stable year”, with the market likely to end higher than its current level.

No way, baby4. The bad luck associated with goats could result in a baby drought this year.

This is because couples rushed to give birth in the Year of the Horse or opted to delay their pregnancies to have children in the Year of the Monkey, both considered generally more favourable zodiac signs.

Characteristics ascribed to goats include being calm and thoughtful, but they are also generally believed to be followers rather than leaders. The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that doctors in Singapore and Hong Kong had noted a jump in the number of bookings for caesarean-section deliveries this week ahead of the new year cut-off.

Embracing the interwebs5. China’s New Year celebrations have been catapulted into the digital age.

The red paper envelope filled with cash known as the “hong bao”, which is generally given to employees and children during the holiday, is being replaced by its electronic equivalent. Last year, 8 million people delivered e-hong baos via Tencent’s WeChat mobile phone app.

This year, rival internet companies Alibaba and Baidu are stepping up their own efforts to take a slice of the new market.

Unfortunately people can’t e-travel home for the holiday. China’s Ministry of Transport expects 2.8 billion trips to be taken during this year’s spring festival, which is why it is referred to as the biggest annual mass migration of people in the world.

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