China is undoubtedly the biggest market for most consumer brands in the world. But how do these “international brands” plan to conquer the huge Chinese market when its consumers can’t even pronounce, let alone remember, their name?
Most International Brands have taken up Chinese (meaningful) Names which make their brands more appealing. So when you are eating Lay’s snack foods (Le Shi), you are eating “Happy Things”!
So, while Coca Cola (Kěkǒu kělè) would mean “Delicious & Happiness”, Subway (Sàibǎiwèi) means “Filled with One Hundred Flavours”!!
However, choosing a Brand Name in China can be a big challenge. The Chinese Language has thousands of characters, each with many meanings and with pronunciations that vary from region to region. In the early days of Coke’s introduction in China, for example, shopkeepers advertised the drink using characters that sounded similar to “Coca-Cola” but had nonsensical meanings such as “wax-flattened mare.”
Tide detergent or Taizi, whose Chinese characters literally mean “gets rid of dirt”, the same sound written differently could mean “too purple.”(Oh!!)
Given below are a list of Brands, their Chinese names, with their meanings.
So let’s decode – After enjoying your “sparrow’s nest coffee” while smoking your “10 000 treasure road”, you drive your “treasured horse” to the nearest “family blessing”!
|Brand||Chinese Name||Pronunciation( Pin Yin)||Meanings|
|Volkswagen||大众汽车||Dàzhòng qìchē||Dàzhòng: public, all
Ēr: suffix often used in names to indicate the sound [-l], [-el]
|Dior||迪奥||Dí’ào||Dí: enlighten, guide
Ào: profound and difficult to understand
|McDonald’s||麦当劳||Màidāngláo||Mài: general term for wheat, barley, oats, etc.
Dāng: to serve as, or to be used as
Láo: to work
|Nestlé||雀巢咖啡||Quècháo kāfēi||Què: sparrow
Meaning: Sparrow’s Nest Coffee
|Marlboro||万宝路||Wànbǎolù||Wàn: 10 000
Lù: street, path
Meaning: 10 000 Treasure Road
Meaning: Treasured Horse
|Mercedez Benz||奔驰||Bēnchí||Bēn: run fast
Chí: go quickly
Meaning: Dashing Speed
|Jaguar||捷豹||Jiébào||Jié: win, victory
Bào: leopard, panther
Meaning: Swifting Panther
Meaning: Delicious & Happiness
|Subway||赛百味||Sài bǎiwèi||Sài: To surpass, to excel
Meaning: Filled with One Hundred Flavours
Meaning: Family Blessing
Kè: to overcome with victory
Sà: filler sound that appears in many words like 萨萨 (sàsà ), the sound the leaves make when it’s windy.
Sī: phonetic element
Meaning: All the above results in a wild sounding ride, doesn’t it?
Shì: matter, thing
Meaning: A Hundred Happy Things
Shì: matter, thing
Meaning: Happy Event