Airbnb now has a Chinese name, and everyone in China is mocking it.
The American room-rental startup last week revealed its new brand name to be used in China — a three-character moniker, 爱彼迎, “Aibiying”. Each character individually translated means “love,” “mutual” and “welcome.”
Airbnb said in Chinese on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, that the name means “let love meet each other.” The company further explained that more and more Chinese travelers are getting to know each other through Airbnb, and that the name represents their value and mission bringing together tens of millions of neighborhood communities around the world with love.
However, the company totally failed to impress Chinese people with this moniker. Rather, the Chinese name gave Chinese netizens some cheap entertainment, laughing at the expense of Airbnb.
Why? First, the pronunciation of this name is like some sort of difficult language test. Even for a native Chinese, this name is really hard to pronounce. There’s a high chance that Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky might have a hard time just spitting out the words.
Second, the name just sounds wrong in many ways. With the new moniker “Aibiying” quickly taking social media by storm, Airbnb has received an overwhelming amount of nasty comments.
Some said it’s corny; some said it sounds like a name for a sex toy shop, especially with the pink-colored background accompanying the logo. Some said that it sounds like a copycat porn company (because the second character “bi” sounds similar to a crude slang for female genitalia). Many said that the company should just drop the Chinese name altogether.