Well, that didn’t take long: On the same day that an announcement confirmed the Guangzhou Evergrande Football Team will now be called “Evergrande Taobao”, people took to the internet to voice their outrage at the awkward moniker.
The renaming of the team revealed Friday by Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin combined two very popular name brands together: the “Evergrande” football club and the “Taobao” e-commerce website portal. However, the point of contention for netizens is with the abbreviation of this name.*
It turns out that one nickname of “Evergrande Taobao” in Chinese can be the term “Great Treasure”, a term with positive connotations until you realize that the Chinese name Dabao is already an established brand name in China—for a cosmetics line.
Such a small detail may seem insignificant to cultural outsiders until you realize the depravity to which Chinese football fans will use to insult opposing teams. It should also be noted that Dabao isn’t the equivalent to Maybelline or Max Factor, but serves the less-glamorous demographic of middle-aged women. Dabao products aren’t as much lip gloss or eyeshadow as they are anti-wrinkle creams.
Dabao can also take on a different meaning. As many Chinese call their children the “family treasure”, “Dabao” can be construed to mean “big baby”.
Here’s a short sample of what people had to say about the new name, “Evergrande Taobao”:
Very ugly team name!!!!
Isn’t it called the Guangzhou Evergrande Alibaba Taobao TMall Alipay Team? [crowd.emo]
Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin made a billion yuan investment just to make an advertisement for a household product…
Feel as though the people running around on the pitch will be the (Taobao) delivery service [bored.emo]
Well, at least in this way, the feminization of the French word “Grande” in “Evergrande” now finally makes sense.
*Quick Chinese explanation: long names are often abbreviated in Chinese into something more manageable. For example, “Beijing University” becomes “Beida” from taking the first character of each character pair (北京大学, Běijīng Dàxué) and make them form their own pairing regardless of meaning (北大, Běidà).
In this case, the new formation does have a literal meaning (ie “North Big”) but its nonsensical meaning is overridden by its use as an abbreviation.
Like any other long name, Evergrande Taobao (恒大淘宝, Héngdà Táobǎo) can be abbreviated, but it’s what happens when the second half of the character gets paired up to become 大宝 (Dàbǎo), or literally, “great treasure” that has gotten netizens so furious.
Photos: nipic (2), Chinese News Network