Li Xiao Long? Bruce Lee!
Cheng Long. Jackie Chan!
Li Lianjie. Jet Li!
Ma Yun? Jack Ma! (Alibaba)
Ma Huateng? Pony Ma! (Tencent)
Chinese artists and CEOs choose an easier-to-pronounce (for people outside China) name to ensure they are pronounced and remembered better.
Now, for the reverse: many brands are called differently in China because they pick names that are easy to pronounce in China and also mean something, contextually.
BMW is Baoma, meaning ‘treasure horse’.
Coca-Cola is Kekoukele, meaning ‘delicious happiness’.
LinkedIn is Lingyin, meaning ‘leading elite’.
Now, do you know who Li Taixi is?
In what seems to be a first, OYO’s Founder Ritesh Agarwal has chosen a Chinese name for himself and that name is ‘Li Taixi’.
I have heard of Michael Jordan winning the rights to his name in Chinese—the transliteration Qiaodan from a local sportswear company which had registered the trademark. But, I have not heard of any other business leader choosing a Chinese name specifically to endear himself (or herself) to China. This is an extremely interesting localization strategy and good for PR as well.
Do you know another business leader, artist or any non-Chinese person who created a Chinese name for him/herself to be more appealing in China? I’d love to know.
Related read: I have been given three Chinese names. Which one should I use? (Cover image credit, from the same article).