Luck of the Draw: Creating Chinese Brand Names

William Li Chang
China Institute of Technology, Taiwan

Peirchyi Lii
Asia University, Taiwan

INTRODUCTION

The “Chinese commonwealth” (including China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, and Taiwan) not only is the fourth-largest global economic power (trailing only Europe, Japan, and the United States; Kao, 1993), but is also one of the world's largest consumer markets. Global enterprises cannot afford to ignore the Chinese market. An effective means of creating and maintaining a successful and profitable position in a global market is to establish reputable brands (Aaker, 1996) in different key markets. Consequently, developing a powerful brand in the Chinese commonwealth is essential for enterprises with global aspirations.

In China, names often are closely linked to destiny. Selecting an auspicious name for a newborn baby, for instance, can help that baby live a fortunate life (Lip, 1988; Schmitt, 1995). The name-giving tradition has been extended into Chinese business. Numerous studies of branding have demonstrated that Chinese prefer names with positive and fortunate implications, and they often wish to obtain “luck” based on supernatural beliefs (see Ang, 1996; Chan and Huang, 2001a, 2001b; Francis, Lam, and Walls, 2002; McDonald and Roberts, 1990; Schmitt and Pan, 1994).