Localisation for China Part 2 – Chinese naming

In follow on from my previous post concerning the importance of Chinese naming, Visit Britain, recognising the importance of Chinese tourists to the economy, have recently launched the ‘Great names for Great Britain’ campaign.

Several of Britain’s most famous landmarks from Stonehenge to the Shard, have been given a Chinese name-
• Stonehenge – Ju Shi Zhen
• Big Ben – Da Ben Zhong
• Savile Row – Gao Fu Shuai Zhi Lu (Tall, rich, handsome street)
• Cambridge – Jian Qiao (Sword Bridge)
• The Gherkin – Xiao Huang Gua (Pickled Little Cucumber)
• The Highland Games – Qun Ying Hui (The strong man skirt party)
• Hadrian’s Wall – Yong Heng Zhi Ji (Wall of eternity)

Introducing Chinese naming to UK landmarks has had a considerable effect on Savile Row’s marketability to Chinese customers. A hotspot for men’s tailored fashion, Saville Row is associated with the ‘perfect man’ in China. The renaming re-instills the Chinese cultures positive perception of the prestigious tailored fashion and makes the London landmark more appealing to visit and purchase products from.

Many Western firms who have entered the Chinese market have learnt the hard way, when it comes to Chinese naming.
Coca-Cola, translated as the unappealing “Bite the wax tadpole”, renamed the beverage to Kekou-Kele translating to “Let your mouth rejoice”.

The British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who has gained a massive following in China has been renamed as known as a much easier to pronounce ‘Curly Fu’.

So how should you approach Chinese naming for your brand?

Never presume Chinese customers can understand your brand name. Difficulty with pronunciation and the word meanings in the Chinese language are common issues for Western firms. Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, was pronounced similar to the word ‘sick’. Microsoft identified the issue and changed the pronunciation to Bi-ying meaning ‘certain to respond’.

Invest in a Chinese name that positions your brand towards your targeted customers. For example, Colgate renamed itself ‘Gao lu jie’ translating to “revealing superior cleanliness”.

Use your Chinese name on your social media channels and websites to amplify engagement. Consistency is key to encouraging your Chinese customers to adopt your localised name. You should be incorporating this to all of your platforms including your Chinese social medias and your .CN URL.
To learn more about Chinese naming for the Chinese market, we are holding a workshop on the 16th of February. Spaces are limited to 18, to book, please click here.

If you want to know more about localisation for the Chinese market, we are holding a workshop on 16th February. Spaces are limited to 18, to book, please click here.


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