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Shanghai: Deadline Nears for Chinese Signs
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Call it a sign of the times.

Shops owned by international brands on Shanghai's Huaihai Road and Xintiandi will be required to display Chinese signage before this Sunday's deadline, in a move towards standardizing all street signs in time for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

About 24 shops in the two areas were found to be lacking Chinese shop signs.

Luwan district's commission of economy, the governmental department in charge, has urged all foreign brand shops to add their "Chinese Identity Card" to signage.

"Every international brand should mark its Chinese name and the nation or the region of the brand on its shop sign," Yang Jishi, an official of the department, said.

"We hope it is written clearly in the proper font size and color."

All the corporations should apply standard Chinese characters on their signage, under regulations that have been in force since March 2006.

Yang said the move would extend to shops on other roads of Luwan District by the end of the year.

The three-year plan to standardize all shop signage will be completed by 2008, according to the Shanghai appearance & environmental sanitary bureau.

Zhang Ripei, an officer of bureau, told China Daily that up to now the Chinese names of international brands were widely accepted by most citizens. Mao Xiaomin, the doorkeeper of an office building near Xintiandi, said he preferred Chinese names because there were too many foreign characters he did not understand.

"We embrace foreign languages and cultures with our arms open wide, while at the same time, we want to highlight our own language on the Chinese mainland," Zhang said.

Many international brands are widely known by their Chinese names. Still, many other brands are yet to display their Chinese names.

But that doesn't help those brands that don't yet have a Chinese name, like Ports.

"I don't think it necessary to have a Chinese name for the Canadian retail brand Ports. Most people already know its English name," a Ports shop assistant surnamed Zhang said.

Qiu Lili, a shop assistant of St. John, which has a store in Xintiandi, said: "In my opinion, the Chinese name for an international brand is good, because it will help local consumers understand and recognize the brand easier."

(China Daily July 12, 2007)

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