McDonald’s China changed its business name, and consumers aren’t lovin’ it.
Chinese media reported on Wednesday evening that McDonald’s Chinese business changed its company’s name from Maidanglao, a loose transliteration of the English name, to Jingongmen, or Golden Arches, on Oct. 12.
Although the fast food chain reassured its fans on its Weibo microblog that stores in China will still bear the old name, the new moniker was immediately ridiculed by net users for sounding unsophisticated.
“Jingongmen sounds like a name for a Peking duck restaurant or a traditional Chinese medicine store,” one Weibo user wrote, suggesting the company add “time-honored brand” to double down on the new name’s old-fashioned connotations.
Picking a Chinese name can be tricky for foreign brands. U.S. home-sharing company Airbnb earlier this year chose “Aibiying,” or “welcome each other with love,” for its Chinese operations, but the name was badly received for being difficult to pronounce. Last month, NBA team Dallas Mavericks asked its fans to come up with a new Chinese name because the current xiaoniu is a mistranslation, meaning “little cows.”
A McDonald’s China spokesperson told Sixth Tone on Thursday that the name change was made to meet “the needs of business development” after the fast food chain sold a bulk of its China and Hong Kong operations to financial conglomerate CITIC Group and American investment company Carlyle Capital in January.
McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in China in 1990, and the brand, closely associated with a Western lifestyle, took off. Long lines formed whenever a new location opened. However, in recent years the fast food chain has struggled to maintain its growth momentum in China as more prosperous, health-conscious consumers seek alternative dining options.
This article has been updated to include comments from McDonald’s China.
Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: People walk past a McDonald’s sign with the Chinese characters for ‘Maidanglao’ in Shanghai, Aug. 7, 2016. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images/VCG)