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Branding for China - How to Choose a Chinese Name for a Company

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Get your free guide - The 10 Biggest Mistakes Beginners in Chinese Make and How You Can Avoid Them http://bit.ly/1QrHjBp So many companies and products are now seeing huge market potential and moving into China.Apple is an example of a company that doesn’t use a Chinese name, even though most people in China call it 苹果. But not everybody has the same brand recognition that Apple has. But how do you translate a brand name? An English name carries with it many associations and connotations to native speakers of the language which simply can’t be carried straight across into Chinese. Chinese is made up of individual characters, which may have many different meanings and pronunciations. Put together, they might sound like a foreign name, but mean something completely different. And Chinese characters also have different pronunciations in different dialects, so a name that is pronounced one way in Beijing may sound completely different in Hong Kong, for example. These are all challenges you have to face. There are basically 3 options for creating a Chinese name for a company or brand. 1. Use the standard Chinese characters that sound most like your English name. 2. Use Chinese characters which together sound like the English name and also have positive meanings. 3. Create a Chinese name that might not sound like your English name, but which create the right brand message. creating an effective brand name in Chinese is a very creative process. Something which sounds good to one person may sound terrible to somebody else, so it’s always a good idea to get a lot of different opinions from native speakers, but if you get a great Chinese name, it can be the key to your success.
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Text Comments (19)
Yen Duffy (1 year ago)
You still live in China?
Yes I still live in China
Yen Duffy (1 year ago)
Hi Chris your second language very good.
Thanks Yen!
J.A.H. van de Laak (2 years ago)
I'm looking for a Chinese brand name, related to Dutch produce. (organic farm produce/baby formula) If anyone can suggest something, that would be great. Has to reflect green fields, traditional farm, or windmill... or some positive link with Holland... you get the point. Thanks.
SwetPotato (3 years ago)
I like BENZ's "奔驰"
Seth Langston (3 years ago)
Baoma 宝马 is supposed to sound like BMW's nickname, Beamer, and the Chinese name means "prized horse".
Easy GamingX (3 years ago)
This guy is smart! Good job Chris
Sam Lu (3 years ago)
LEARN CHINESE!~
TheBloodship (3 years ago)
部分中国人觉得外国的品牌可靠、洋气,看到很多品牌光从名字就知道是外国的,所以有些中国本土的品牌听起来也像外国的,例如:oppo
leviathan 0000 (3 years ago)
interesting topic Chris!
Another informative video Chris, keep up the good work! Jan
NorahIK (3 years ago)
Good talk! Similarly getting a Chinese name for foreigners, some one might go with the sound translation of his/her name even if the character means different from the original name, or chose a Chinese name base on the meaning of the original name even if it sound different from the original. And i often like to go by the second method.
sdushdiu (3 years ago)
+Chris Parker  An excellent video. Additionally a video about choosing a Chinese name for  oneself would be invaluable to many! Thanks!!!
Nilguiri (3 years ago)
That was interesting. Thanks Chris.
Nataly Jackson (10 months ago)
This was great, thanks, I been tryin to find out about "learning powerful methods to build your Chi energy" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Ever heard of - Fellmeroni Rudimentary Chi - (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some awesome things about it and my brother in law got excellent success with it.
People from outside of China might get less confused if they heard "China has different languages" rather than dialects (although they also have dialects, of course), because Europe is full of languages much closer to one another than many "dialects" of China, where mutual intelligibility is often close to zero despite sharing the same writing system. In China, the term "dialect" is officially imposed and they all take it for granted, but for outsiders it makes more sense to describe reality with the most appropriate word, and not a politically correct one that makes little sense. After all, English and Vietnamese share practically the same writing system, and they are not "dialects" of a larger language that uses the Roman alphabet.
China Non-Stop (3 years ago)
I would say the first issue is decide wether you want a Chinese name or a foreign name. There are pros and cons on each side... And then once/ if you have decide to use a Chinese name you need to think about the meanings + 2 caracters maximum... I wrote some article about this topic. Interesting vid! I need to explain my point of view regarding this issue.
China Non-Stop (3 years ago)
+Chris Parker Many brands want to emphasize on the "foreign touch/ side" since they are foreign brand. Now it is about their strategy. Until now, it has been positive to be foreign brand... In fact I find that in China most shops have a Chinese name + some english ads to attract/ look better quality... Though the brands you mention that have 3, 4 character are multinationals? I guess 3 is fine. 4 I think is really too much. It is similar when I chose a surname for my son. Two character maximum... but then you have the family name + the surname, so I guess that is 3 altogether. Another aspect about choosing a brand name would be the logo.

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