Picking the right Chinese name is no easy task for international brands entering China. Most recently Airbnb received mixed reviews for its new name, with many Chinese “netizens” suggesting that they should have hired a translation expert. Nonetheless, we've decided to collect a handful of popular global brands that you will come across when you teach English in China, and we've translated the names into Chinese so that you can get speak the language when you arrive.
It's worth remembering that you don't need to be fluent in Chinese to be able to live in China, but speaking a little will go a long way, and it will help you score browny points with the locals! nǐ de Zhōngwén bùcuò (你的中文不错).
Coca-Cola (可口可乐 – kě kǒu kě lè)
Pepsi (百事可乐 – bǎi shì kě lè)
McDonald's (麦当劳 – mài dāng láo）
Burger King (汉堡王 – hàn bǎo wáng)
KFC (肯德基 – kěn dé jī)
Pizza Hut (必胜客 – bì shèng kè)
Starbucks (星巴克 – xīng ba kè)
Subway (赛百味 – sài bǎi wèi)
Lay's (乐事 – lè shì)
Budweiser (百威 – bǎi wēi)
Mastercard (万事达 – wàn shì dá)
American Express (美国运通 – měi guó yùn tōng)
HSBC (汇丰银行 – huì fēng yín háng)
Citibank (花旗银行 – huā qí yín háng)
Agricultural Bank of China (中国农业银行 - Zhōngguó Nóngyè Yínháng
Bank of China (中国银行 - Zhōngguó Yínháng)
Bank of Communications (交通银行 -Jiāotōng Yínháng)
China CITIC Bank (中信银行 - Zhōng Xìn Yínháng)
China Construction Bank (中国建设银行 - Zhōngguó Jiànshè Yínháng)
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (中国工商银行 / 工行 - Zhōngguó Gōngshāng Yínháng / Gōngháng)
Apple (苹果 – píng guǒ)
Amazon (亚马逊 – yà mǎ xùn)
Canon (佳能 – jiā néng)
Samsung (三星 – sān xīng)
LinkedIn (领英 – lǐng yīng)
Ok, so now you have bolstered your vocabulary and you now know some pretty popular brands in Chinese. You're half way there, all you have to do now is put the words into simple sentences and you can start to communicate!
I want to drink "Wǒ yào hē (Brand name)" (我要喝）
I want to go to "Wǒ yào qù (Brand name/place)"（我要去）
My bank is "Wǒ shì (bank name) de kèhù" (我是中国银行的客户)
I like (brand name) products "Wǒ xǐhuān (Tech product) chǎnpǐn" (我喜欢苹果产品)
With this list of brand names and simple sentences, you will have some much need vocabulary to make life in China a little easier. If you're not sure how to pronounce these words and sentences in Chinese, make sure you sign up for EF English First's free Chinese lessons before you come to China.