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Aug
2013

What’s in a name?

The low-key luxury brand Bottega Veneta announced its official Chinese name ‘葆蝶家(bǎo dié jiā)’ which means ‘flourish’, ‘butterfly’ and ‘family’ last month after what is claimed to be years of deliberation. The story of the Chinese name is beautiful and poetic, but one spoof by Weibo followers has put the brand in an embarrassing position. ‘暴跌价(bào diē jià)’ also sounds like BV’s new Chinese name but means‘ a significant reduction in selling price’, and has always been used in the promotion of most of China’s low-end brands, all positioned far from BV’s luxury status.

In fact, BV selected this Chinese name only after the better name choice had been registered by another company. Renaming a brand in China is common because cyber squatting is prevalent; Lexus, Hermes, Tesla and other big names were all been forced to rename in China. Apple spent $ 60 million to regain the ‘iPad’ name. New brands will often now register more than 10 Chinese trademark at once, as well as a variety of transliteration of Chinese names they can think of. …

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