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Saturday, September 25, 2010

China “National” Products – with or without

Do you love your country? This is a question always asked by the authority. How do you define a “patriot”? How about consuming the national brands of products? Well, the names of national brands of products in China usually start with “Kuo” which means “country” or “national” …

“Bank of China” (中國銀行), “Petro China Company” (中國石油天然氣股份有限公司), “National Wine: Gui Zhou Moutai” (國酒貴州茅台), “Chung Hwa Pencils” (中華牌鉛筆) … wait a second, are they really produced by the country?

Some Chinese parents have a preference to name their children starting with “Kuo” () (pronounced in Putonghua) or “Kwok” () (pronounced in Cantonese) as their first name, it means “country” or “national”. They would usually add another preferred element/meaning as the second name after “Kuo” or “Kwok”, e.g. Kuo-Ming (means “clever”) for boys, Kuo-Mei (means “beautiful”) for girls … wait a minute, are they “made in China”?!

You may consider the above ridiculous, however, it may become necessary after an official notice about products containing the name or trademark as “China”, “country” etc. has been published at the PRC’s Trademark Office, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (CTMO) on 28 July 2010.

This notice is composed of 3 major parts:

(1) Compliance of Laws/Regulations (法律依據);

(2) Review of trademarks containing the word of “China” (中國」字樣商標的審查審理標准); and

(3) Review of trademarks containing the first word of “country” (首字為「國」字商標的審查審理標准).

Ironically, some “national” brands of products exist in the market for a long period of time, causing the consumers (local and overseas) to believe that they are really produced by the country! The best example is “National Wine: Gui Zhou Moutai” (國酒貴州茅台). It is usually served for overseas (especially from USA) presidents, ambassadors and senior officers in China since mid 1970’s.

With the enforcement of this new law/regulation, some existing “national” products which have been in the market for some time would be put in an embarrassing position. Hopefully the brand-building of these “national” products is blossoming in a mutual-beneficial way!

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