It is incredible how successful are italian names in Chinese business.
Sure, walking in a commercial center in China it is quite common to find foreign names.
But it is astonishing to discover how many are the italian names compared with spanish or french ones…
Some may think that those businesses are led by Italians: that’s, in most cases, untrue. There are not even that many Italians in China – roughly 9000 by the end of 2017, according to AIRE. There are much more Japanese, Korean, American and German residents.
Why italian names in Chinese business work
So how to explain the success of italian language for business? Well, apparently many Chinese consider italian as a sophisticate language (like french in Europe), and even exotic.
Indeed, even in Europe italian language enjoyed a special status in the past. Although today is different, many in the past studied italian language, considering it as one of the most musical tongues, especially used for lyrical music.
That’s how many brands which don’t have a strong italian influence will use an italian name or refer to Italy. Casa Mia, shown in the picture above, is an example; another can be the ice cream brand Ai Xixili, also known with the english name Iceason, Ai Xixili literally means “Love Sicily”.
Why not a foreign asian language?
We believe the reason to choose an european language instead of an asian one may be connected to the fact that both korean and japanese, although they have stronger connection with chinese, use their own alphabets, and since Chinese only study the english alphabet, which has all the letters of the italian alphabet, latin languages end up as a better choice, as they are easy to read for everybody.
Another interesting point, of course, is the evergreen reference to the famous Made in Italy. Business owners may hope that using a italian name will let them benefit of a better perceived quality in fields such as food, drinks, fashion and art.
So, indeed, using italian names in Chinese business is an interesting practice.
But this may change as China is pushing for Made in China 2025 to realize China as a quality producer.