In Mandarin Chinese, the number 8 is prounounced "ba" and the number 1 is pronounced "yi". Put them together and you get "ba-ba-yi" which when spoken fast sounds a bit like "ba-bye" which sounds like the english "bye-bye". Possibily originated from Taiwan, Singapore, or China.

I wonder where these other entries came up with their crap. You all just got schooled.
Waa, so seempole. 881~
by fu July 30, 2004
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bye-bye! == bb! == BB! =~ 881
881 sista, l8r
by Xaocuc February 24, 2004
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Esoteric internet text equivalent for "BB!" ("byebye!)
by kinsmed July 3, 2004
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Chinese for "kthxbai". Pronounced "san-cue, ba ba eee," this sounds to native Mandarin speakers like the English phrase "Thank you, Bye bye." (or b'bye, commonly used in China the way English speakers use the Italian word Ciao). Commonly used to end text messages.
美国欠的中国八千万点零万美元。笑出声来。3Q 881
by Tsu Dho Nimh October 16, 2009
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