Awfully Chocolate

Using English in brand names is common in China because it often conveys to the domestic Chinese market a sense of quality that is still associated with western products here.  The funny thing is that the English chosen for brands or commercials sometimes will have mistakes or even carry negative undertones.  The store “Awfully Chocolate”, which Tian and I came across in a nearby mall, is a good example of this.

A chocolate store in the local mall.

A chocolate store in the local mall with an interesting name.

Ironically, what a native English speaker might consider a damaging oversight probably will not hurt the perception of most potential customers here.  Most Chinese speakers of basic English probably will not see a problem in using a derivation of the word “Awful,” which can mean “extremely disagreeable” just as much as it can mean “exceedingly great”, as part of a chocolate store name. 

And maybe I am underestimating the store’s marketing plan.  Perhaps they were going for a name that was memorable and ironic, albeit controvertial, just to get lots of attention in the expat blogosphere.  If that was there goal, then I will be the first to admit that they were awfully strategic.



  1. This is easily one of the best expat blogs written by a family member in China that I read on a semi-regular basis. Totally. Top 5 for sure.

  2. Hi Jeff,

    When we visited China last year, Ingrid was fascinated by all the awkwardly translated signs we saw, so we really enjoyed knowing about “Awfully Chocolate”! In Fuzhou we passed by a teahouse called “La Intoxication Special Tea”–we didn’t get a photo of it, but Ingrid and Isak did make up a musical jingle about it. The kids also enjoyed the “Caution: Slippy!” sign by the hotel swimming pool.

    We enjoy reading about your and Tian’s adventures in China, so please keep the blog posts coming!

    Hope all is well–
    Gail & Michael

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