mcdonald's branch in china

27 Chinese Brand Names That Smart Shoppers Must Know

Many international brands have a strong presence in China and have awesome-sounding Chinese names.

For example, Nike in Chinese is actually 耐(nài kè), and McDonald’s is (mài dāng láo)

Being well-versed in the Chinese names of big brands is a sure way to increase your coolness factor among Chinese friends. In casual conversations, brands in Chinese are called 牌子 (pái zi), while the more formal term in the business or marketing sense is 品牌 (pǐn pái)

Combine this knowledge with some handy Chinese phrases for shopping and you’re good to go.

Now let’s explore every corner of the consumer world—in Chinese!


1.  (lù wēi dēng) — Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton store in China

The ubiquitous pattern of an LV bag makes it easily recognizable among other brands. But, surprisingly, this highly popular label for bags of all shapes and sizes is now becoming too common to be luxury.

Looks like the Chinese rich will be aiming even higher when it comes to luxury handbags.

 is a very close phonetic imitation of Louis Vuitton. 威 means power, as in  (wēi )refers to ascending to great heights, as in  (dēng shāng), which means climbing a mountain.

2. 古琦 (gǔ qí) — Gucci 

gucci store in china

Even though Gucci is an ultra-famous fashion brand, it’s still struggling to maintain its claim to luxury in the face of an ever-growing population of wealthy Chinese.

Gucci’s Chinese name is also a phonetic imitation, although 古 means ancient. Think:  (dài), ancient, or  (diǎn), classical.

琦 can be a kind of valuable stone, such as jade. So Gucci in Chinese alludes to ancient fine jade.

3. 香奈儿 (xiāng nài ér) — Chanel

chanel store in china

Chanel is another high-end brand that gained traction in China, from glitzy fashion shows to major celebrity advertisements. 

In Chinese, it’s known as 香奈儿. For the most part, this is meant to imitate the sound of its English name. There’s a standout character here, though: 香, which means fragrant. It’s a great fit for Chanel since the brand is well-known for its perfumes, especially the iconic Chanel No. 5.

4. 苹果 (píng guǒ) Apple 

apple store in china

Every time it releases a new product, Apple attracts long lines of people in China, and it’s already a household name there for phones, laptops and other gadgets.

Unsurprisingly, its Chinese name is a direct translation of apple苹果 (píng guǒ). 果 is a common character in Chinese for fruits, like 水果 (shuǐ guǒ) for fruits or 果汁 (guǒ zhī) for fruit juice.

5.  — Adidas

jeremy lin promoting adidas shoes

Adidas has adopted a straight phonetic imitation in its Chinese name. Although the Chinese name for Adidas does not have a particularly strong Chinese meaning, the company has done well to connect with Asian culture. Its high-profile celebrity brand ambassadors include athletes such as Jeremy Lin.

6. 耐克 (nài kè)  Nike

When it comes to international sportswear brands in China, we can’t go without mentioning Nike.

Its name 耐克 is more than just a Chinese copy of the English pronunciation. You might recognize the first character, as it comes from 耐性 (nài xìng), meaning endurance or patience. The second character, 克, means to overcome or subdue, as in 克服 (kè fú) to conquer, to overcome.

That’s a pretty good name for a sportswear brand!

7.  (jīng gōng) — Seiko

Another company that has great Chinese celebrity endorsements is Seiko. Seiko watches are worn by singer and actor Wang Leehom and actor Daniel Wu.

“Seiko” is how the characters 精工 are pronounced in Japanese. In Chinese, the name is one that makes you think of refined craftsmanship.

精 comes from  (jīng huá), meaning essence. It is also used in  (jīng shén), meaning attitude or spirit.

refers to work or craftsmanship. For example: 厂 (gōng chǎng) means factory and (gōng yì) means arts and handmade crafts. 

Together, connotes a sense of being handmade or meticulously made, with fine attention to detail. 

8.  (kě kǒu ) — Coca-Cola

When you desire happiness and a delicious drink, you want to have Coca-Cola. At least, that’s what the company wants you to think.

Coca-Cola has an awesome Chinese name that suggests both joy (乐) and great taste (口).

Indeed, Coca-Cola has been joyfully working the Chinese market for over 40 years. In fact, Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to re-enter China after the Cultural Revolution.

As is the case for most big companies, Coca-Cola has found an excellent place to work in China, which is one of Coca-Cola’s largest markets worldwide.

Looks like there’s a lot of Chinese sipping this brown fizzy drink.

9. 七一一  (qī yāo yāo) 7/11

7/11 has quite a presence in China, with more than 2,500 stores.

A common name for it is 七一一, where the 一一 are pronounced as “yāo yāo.” This is very literal: 七 translates to seven, and 一一 means eleven.

In daily life, the number 11 is mostly pronounced as “shí yī”.

10. (mài dāng láo) — McDonald’s

Who doesn’t love McDonald’s? Chinese tastes have been changing ever since the arrival of Western fast food chains.

McDonald’s phonetically similar Chinese name doesn’t have a particularly meaningful translation, unless you want to point out that 麦 is wheat, and hamburger buns are made from wheat. One could note that 劳 means hard-working, and the staff at McDonald’s do work hard for their minimum wage.

11. 必胜客 (bì shèng kè) Pizza Hut 

When it comes to international fast food restaurants in China, Pizza Hut is definitely among the most popular, and it has a thoughtful Chinese name too: 必胜客.

必胜 means “must win,” while 客 stands for guest. Putting these together, 必胜客 hints that Pizza Hut is guaranteeing customers a winning or awesome experience.  

You’ll even see 胜 in words like 胜利 (shèng lì) victory and 优胜 (yōu shèng)  superior or better.

12. 肯德基 (kěn dé jī) KFC 

KFC is a great example of an international brand that was able to adapt to Chinese markets. Aside from its classic offerings like fried chicken, it also has menu items like congee, soy milk and egg tarts.

The characters in its Chinese name respectively mean willing to, morality and foundation. 德 is an especially positive character in Chinese culture, with words like 道德 (dào dé) morality and 恩德 (ēn dé)  kindness or favor.

13. 汉堡王 (hàn bǎo wáng) Burger King

If you speak Chinese, you could literally guess Hamburger King’s name because it’s a direct translation! In 汉堡王,  汉堡 means hamburger, while 王 translates to king.

王 appears in a lot of terms involving royalty, like 王子 (wáng zǐ) for prince, 王后 (wáng hòu) for queen and even 王冠 (wáng guān) for crown. Of course, it also works pretty well in a brand name.

14.  (xǐ ) — Heineken

chinese brand names

When it comes to alcoholic drinks, here is a beer that boasts happiness and power.

Heineken, sometimes also called  (hǎi gēn), has chosen words of strength and happiness to represent its beers in China. 喜 comes from (huān xǐ), or happiness. 力 is strength, as in  (lì), to work hard or put in great effort, and (néng lì), meaning strength or power. 

Great name choice, as it makes one think of robust partying. Cheers!

15.  (bǎo ) — BMW

Your car is a precious vehicle to carry you around, much like…a horse.

That is the word BMW chose for its Chinese name, as its name means “precious horse.”

宝 is from  (bǎo bèi), for precious darling, and  (bǎo guì), for very valuable.

And because babies are very precious, in Chinese they are called  (bǎo bǎo).

This is not to be confused with  (bāo bāo), which is your handbag, or  (bào bào), which is a hug.

You need to be clear whether it is your baby or your handbag that is stolen! Or, if you just want a hug? Oh! the tones…

16.  (bǎo shí jié) — Porsche

Would you want to travel around China on a “precious horse” (BMW), or would you rather drive a Porsche?

Porsche’s Chinese name is mainly a phonetic match, but the name also connotes speed and timeliness.

捷 means quick, and it is also used in the names of Jaguar, which is  (jbào) and Volkswagen’s Jetta, which is  (j).

17. 大众汽车 (dà zhòng qì chē) — Volkswagen

chinese brand names

And now it’s time for “everybody’s car” or 大众汽车, also known as Volkswagen. This Chinese translation is a fairly accurate representation of the original German name, which means “the people’s car.” Nicely done.

18. 宜家 (yí jiā) — IKEA

chinese brand names

IKEA has a Chinese name that makes one think of a practical, comfortable home. How perfect is that?

宜 comes from 便(biàn ), convenient. Also, 便(pián yi), cheap. And (shì ), suitable.

家 of course means home. So when you come to IKEA, or 宜家, you can expect to furnish your home suitably, cheaply and conveniently.

And the cafeteria has cheap coffee and muffins.

19.  (qiáng shēng) — Johnson & Johnson

chinese brand names

A producer of bath and hygiene products likely wants to promote healthy living. This is exactly what Johnson & Johnson has chosen to do through its Chinese name, which hints at strong life. Think: (gāng qiáng), unyielding, and  (qiáng ), powerful.

生, on the other hand, connotes all good meanings relating to life and longevity.

It is a character that shows up everywhere. For example: Have a happy life— (shēng huó)—because life— (shēn gmìng)—is precious. Try not to get angry—气 (shēng )—on your birthday—(shēng ).

20. 惠普 (h pǔ) — Hewlett-Packard

chinese brand names

This international supplier of personal computers, printers and other technology has a Chinese name that means “beneficial” and “popular.”

You may recognize 惠 from  (yōu huì), meaning preferential favor or special deal. It is also commonly seen in  (huìmeaning special discount, and  (shí huì)—better bang for your buck.

普 comes from  (biàn), meaning common, general and universal. It is also used in  (tōng), meaning common and ordinary.

Of course, you may remember that Mandarin Chinese is called  (tōng huà), everybody’s language!

21. 谷歌 (gǔ gē) Google 

Google was actually a go-to search engine in Mainland China up until it was blocked by the government in 2010. Up until today, though, it’s still accessible in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

谷歌 means valley song. Aside from the sound, It might not seem that related to Google, but apparently it’s meant to be a nice-sounding name that expresses how Google can be a rich and abundant source of information.

22. 罗森 (luó sēn) Lawson

Lawson is a convenience store from Japan that already has hundreds of stores all over China. Aside from the usual Japanese products, it also has unique Chinese offerings like steamed buns, soy milk and snacks like peanuts and chips with mala seasoning.

Its Chinese name is meant to sound like the original, without any special meaning, but the second character 森 (forest) has a nice ring to it because it evokes a sense of abundance and freshness.

23. 优衣库 (yōu yī kù) Uniqlo

Uniqlo is known for its affordable, minimalist clothes, with special features like heat technology. Its Chinese name reflects that—优衣库 translates directly to “superior clothing warehouse.”

Unlike many of the other brand names in this list, it doesn’t sound that close to the original, but the meaning is spot-on. It highlights Uniqlo’s branding of having a huge variety of clothes that are also high-quality.

24. 哈根达斯 (hā gēn dá sī) Haagen-Dazs

Compared to many other international brands that tried to enter China, Haagen-Dazs has been very successful, to the point of having multiple upscale cafes. It even came up with ice cream hotpots, which include ice cream, snacks like mochi and cookies and fruits that you can dip into warm, melted chocolate.

The Chinese name for Haagen-Dazs is called 哈根达斯. The characters were chosen based on their sound, but 达 means to reach or achieve, which fits its image as a luxury brand in China. 

25. 高露洁 (gāo lù jié) Colgate

Colgate’s Chinese name is quite clever. White, sparkling teeth are a main selling point in its advertisements, so it’s not surprising that in its Chinese name, you have 高—the character for high—followed by 露洁, meaning “to reveal clean.”

Try saying the name fast too—you’ll realize it does sound like Colgate!

26. 博世 (bó shì) — Bosch

chinese brand names

This German manufacturer of electronic parts has chosen a Chinese name that means conquering the world. Not a bad name for a multinational company known to be one of the leading suppliers of car parts.

博 means extensive, as in 广 (guǎng ), and  (), meaning huge.

博 is also used in  (guǎn), museum, and  (shì), a doctorate degree or PhD. What a smart name!

27. 通用电气 (tōng yòng diàn qì) — General Electric

chinese brand names

If you want to be known as a universally useful electric company, why not try the name 通用电气?

通用 means usable everywhere, and 电气 is electronics.

You may recognize 通 from  (tōng huà), communicate by telephone. It is also found in  (tōng guò), through or via, and  (tōng zhī), to notify. These are all good phrases referring to communicating and connecting.


Now you know many Chinese names for international brands!

It is pretty interesting how companies have connected the right sounds to the right meaning.

What would your company’s Chinese brand name be?

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