in Uncategorized

Chinese signs for offices and bars

First there was a regulation that China-produced cars should carry a name in Chinese characters. Now also companies, stores, restaurants and bars need to have a Chinese name on its signs writes the Shanghai Daily. The reason, according to an official with the Shanghai Language Works Commission “Foreign-language-only signboards will probably hamper people’s understanding and deliberately set up communication barriers for most Chinese.”

Although I understand the reasoning, I think the officials are making too big a deal out of it. There should be more pressing issues than forcing foreign companies to put Chinese signs on the wall (my companies have Chinese names on our signboards by the way, next to the English ones). But luckily the punishment is not that serious: first you get a warning, and then your name will be published on a black-list in local Chinese media. The English name or the Chinese name?

Write a Comment


  1. This issue comes up regularly in US communities where immigrants are a significant part of the population.

    I don’t think there is a standard way of dealing with it; on the one hand English language amendments are patriotic and promote national unity, and on the other hand they lead to “voting reduction among minority groups, a lack of education for non-English-speaking children, and rampant discrimination against non-English speakers”.

  2. of course you need to have Chinese signs for offices and bars because not all Chinese needs to learn English (like young students). China is not like Inida which was a colony of Western country. It is a shame for an office only has English name but it is located in China.

  3. @anonymous: My point is that the government is making too big a deal out of it. Why make a rule for this? Venues with only a foreign name probably only cater to a target market that speaks English. In my home country there are many bars and restaurants with foreign names, why force them to take a Dutch name? If someone does not like it he/she does not have to go there, but why feel offended by this?