Why brand naming is particularly crucial in China

Living in a collectivist society, Chinese consumers tend to value friends and families’ opinions when making decisions. Therefore, brand recognition is extremely important as consumers are willing to pay a higher price due to a brand’s reputation. Foreign brands entering China often experience challenges when it comes to adapting their branding strategy, one of these challenges is finding a Chinese brand name.

Brand naming in China is the first step of a localized branding strategy

The Chinese brand name is a consumer’s first impression of a brand, which makes the naming of brands a top priority before entering into China market.

The three fundamental naming principles:

  1. A Chinese name should reflect a brand’s attributes. It does not necessarily have to be a direct or phonetic translation of the original name.
  2. Choosing characters with positive meanings. The emphasis on auspiciousness, good fortune, happiness, power, and status is highly important in Chinese culture.
  3. Brands must be aware of intellectual property regulations in China.

Why can brand naming in China go wrong easily?

You don’t have to be a Confucian scholar to know that the Chinese language is incredibly complex.

Here are some of the unique challenges of naming in Chinese

Some names may have a nice sound in Mandarin, but may sound odd or even offensive in other regional dialects, which can harm a company’s branding strategy in China.

A good Chinese brand name has the following characteristics:

Carrefour’s Chinese name is pronounced “Jia Le Fu,” and the three Chinese characters combined means “bring happiness and joy home,” reflecting a positive image as a grocery retailer.

Carrefour’s Chinese name is pronounced “Jia Le Fu,” and the three Chinese characters combined means “bring happiness and joy home,” reflecting a positive image as a grocery retailer.

How we can help find the perfect Chinese name for your brand

Daxue Consulting offers these naming services:

Our brand naming process is 80% research, 20% creativity

Before generating name ideas, we make the effort to understand your brand and your goals in the Chinese market.

How we prepare

Based on our research findings and client’s objective, we write a creative brief.

  1. Initial research. We seek to understand your brand during the kick off meeting through a series of pre-defined questions on brand identity.
  2. Brand positioning. Getting comprehensive understanding of competitors and the target consumer group based on offline and online resources.
  3. Briefing. Identify the Brand’s “Pivot point” – the central theme that resonates throughout everything they do, and find the most accurate and inspiring way to convey that message

How we develop a name

Our creative experts will gather and sort a list of at least 15 names for the brand

  1. Keyword generation. Our experts will brainstorm and generate as many as keywords as possible that relate to brand’s products, history, purpose, vision, and values  
  2. Initial names list. Our creative experts will gather and sort a list of at least 50 possible names for Brand cross-checking against the brand’s positioning, and the seven brand naming criteria listed below.
  3. Sanity check. This includes a linguistic check of other Chinese languages like Cantonese and Shanghainese, to avoid phrases that sound offensive or odd in other dialects. Second is an in-depth legal check including trademark, copyright and domain checks.

This process will come up with at least 15 options for the client

We provide comprehensive information about each choice offered to out clients. Our clients are assured to get all the naming possibilities and even potential trade-offs of each choice.

Our team is dynamic and cost-efficient for brand naming China. Excellent young graduates from top universities in China, France, UK and the US will devote themselves to meet every demand of our clients.

We also have cultural experts who have multi-dimensional depth in the culture, literature, traditions and history of China. They are capable of offering catchy, evocative and meaningful names in China consumers’ ears.

Simply being able to translate is far from what we are good at. The sounds, the color, the typeface, typesetting convey powerful ideas associated with various emotions. Our professional team with years of experience of marketing will make a well-selected name trigger proper emotion with your customers and clients.

When choosing a Chinese brand name, we abide by these seven criteria


Is it easy to recognize and remember, and easy to match with other characters? Does it lend well to the graphic presentation, e.g. in brand architecture, in a logo, or in an ad?


Does the name have rich implications and varied associations? Does it have sustainability and preserve possibilities?


Does the name stand out from competitors? How is a given name differentiated from its competition in terms of form, meaning, sounds, tones, etc.

Semantic Value

Does the name convey the right idea and attitude? What does this name imply? (luxury, premium, niche market, mass market, high-end, affordable, etc.).


Is it easy to pronounce and talk about? If people aren’t comfortable saying the name, the word won’t get out

Strategic Impact

Does the name align with the business objectives? Does the character appeal to the type of products/services?


Does the name sound pleasant to Chinese ears? Is the brand name phonetically similar to the original name? E.g. Phonetic similar/match to other languages

Three approaches to naming a brand in Chinese

Three approaches are phonetic translation, literal translation and descriptive translation. Brands can combine these approaches, which creates a lot of avenues to finding a semantically-sound name.

Below are examples of these approaches

Want to see more brand naming examples? Check out our case studies of brand naming in China’s pharmaceutical market and take a deeper look at the linguistics of Chinese brand names.

Start the Chinese brand naming process today

Naming your brand in Chinese is one of the first, crucial steps to succeeding in the Chinese market. It is worth the investment to have a brand name that Chinese are proud to purchase and share with their peers. Contact our project team to find the perfect Chinese brand name for your company, brand or product, email dx@daxueconsulting.com

See our full report on branding strategies in China

Branding concepts in the context of China report by daxue consulting from Daxue Consulting

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