McDonald's Changes its Chinese Name

By Bridget O'Donnell, October 26, 2017

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McDonald's has a new Chinese name.

The fast food chain formerly known as 'Maidanglao' recently changed its name to 'Jingongmen' (金拱门), which translates to 'Golden Arches.' 

Its previous moniker was a rough transliteration of its original English name and has been used since the brand opened its first China outlet in 1990. 'Maidanglao' (麦当劳) literally means 'wheat serves labor.'

But are consumers lovin' it? Apparently not. Sixth Tone reports that netizens are ridiculing the new name.

Jingongmen sounds like a name for a Peking duck restaurant or a traditional Chinese medicine store,” wrote one Weibo user.

The name change officially took place on October 12, 2017 and will only be for company licensing purposes. The Paper notes that the company's main investor operation changed its name to 'Golden Arches China Management Limited' in August.

McDonald's name change

Several local-level McDonald's enterprises have also been renamed (i.e. 'Shenzhen Golden Arches Food Co. Ltd.'), though the change doesn't appear to be across the board.

The name change
Image via The Paper

McDonald's day-to-day business is unaffected by the change, and its restaurant names will stay the same. The chain reassured users on Weibo that all of its outlets would bear the name customers have come to know for the past 27 years.

The change comes less than a year after the brand announced it would sell off most of its business in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong in a deal worth up to USD2.1 billion.

According to the deal, Citic, a state-owned financial firm, would take a 52 percent majority stake in Mickey D's Chinese operations. The Carlyle Group, a US private equity firm, also took a 28 percent stake in the investment. Meanwhile, McDonald's would continue to hold the remaining 20 percent of the business.

This isn't the first time netizens have been less than enthused by the unveiling of an American company's Chinese name. Earlier this year, Airbnb's name — 'Aibiying' (爱彼迎), which means to 'welcome each other with love' — was mocked for being too hard to pronounce.

A meme circulating on WeChat today poked fun at McDonald's new name by proposing similar rebrands for other major companies. We've translated some of their new name suggestions:

McDonald's Changes its Chinese Name

UPDATE (October 26, 2017 at 6.45pm CST): A few more memes...

More Brand Name memes

[Top image via University of Missouri]

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