Inside story: the reason why McDonald’s China changed its name to Jin Gong Men, or Golden Arches, is definitely out of your imagination!


China Economy  Updated:Wed, Jan 17, 2018 02:12 AM   By Bernd Chang


Jingongmen,Golden Arches

The new appearance of McDonald’s China fast food chain store worked out by prankish Chinese netizens. 

The reason why it was Jin Gong Men, or Golden Arches that became the new name for McDonald’s China, has been revealed several months later, and it is definitely out of your imagination.

It was full of big events in rapidly developing Chinese business circle in 2017. And the name change of McDonald’s China to Jin Gong Men, or Golden Arches literally in English, is one of those that created quite a sensation in China.

As was widely reported, in October 2017, McDonald’s China subsidiary changed its official business name to the Mandarin translation of the Golden Arches: Jin Gong Men, though its brand name Maidanglao in China - a transliteration of McDonald’s - would be unchanged. The shift came after the chain agreed earlier in the year to sell most of its China and Hong Kong business to CITIC Ltd and Carlyle Group (CG.O).  The name change aims to give the brand a stronger local connection and help to drive its expansion across China, as was reported.

Unexpectedly, the new name did not appear to sit well with its Chinese consumers and netizens, who have widely criticized, mocked Jingongmen as backward, rusty, sounding like a stuffy Chinese state-owned company, or even, like a furniture store as soon as the new name was revealed.

However, as to the reason, and what businessmen as well as ordinary Chinese consumers are most curious about, why it was Jin Gong Men, or Golden Arches, that became the new name of such a popular fast food restaurant, remained in mystery until several months later into the new year 2018.

The reason proved to be not so complicated. It was simply an abrupt idea out of burst of anger, as has been recently revealed!

During the 11th Asian Financial Forum that took place from January 15th to 16th in Hong Kong, Mr. Zhang Yichen, CEO of CITIC, the controlling shareholder of JinGongMen, told reporters that he decided to use the name simply out of burst of anger when the American partner refused them to use the name McDonald’s after reorganization of McDonald’s China.

Zhang Yichen said the name change of McDonald’s China was a promotion that created the largest stir in 2017 in China, but it was actually not their original intention. Zhang talked about the decision in an outright manner:

I had thought of using other name, but McDonalds did not allow us to use that name. I was so angry and decided to call it Jin Gong Men. As a result, the new name sparked wide attention and discussion on internet and news articles of this topic was read up to 9 billion times, which means averagely every Chinese has read 6 articles of this topic, leading to a promotional efficiency unreachable in other places of the world. And this phenomenon also shows the huge potential of Jin Gong Men in China.

The grand name change strategy actually came out without thorough investigation, research, group discussion as how American government and businessmen make decisions?  Incredible, isn’t it?  

Anyway it is the final outcome  that tells whether the abrupt naming is successful and you are the judge. Please give your prediction and opinions below.

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