The name Pawnstar is quite well-known around Shanghai at this point, so we may be stuck with it. I find it rather cute and I don’t think it’s seediness is problematic. What concerns me much more is that there is a famous show from the US with the same name. This obviously is detrimental when it comes to google search results. Most of you probably don’t know our Chinese name.
The Chinese name for Pawnstar is quite clever. The person who came up with it, Mr. Li Xuesong, is an extremely successful entrepreneur based in Beijing. He founded Flamingo, a conglomerate in the realm of real estate marketing or thereabouts. Dangpu (荡铺) is a homonym for the word that means Pawnshop (当铺). Pu just means storefront, but Dang (荡) is a tough word to translate. Probably the easiest way of thinking of it is as “swing”, I’m told. We created the concept of 荡铺 by combined Dang (荡) with the word for store and the result is a concept something along the lines of an adult store but it sounds like the word for Pawnshop. You see, a bit like Pornstar and Pawnstar.
As I’m sure anyone who has dealt with China and its language will know, homonyms are omnipresent. Our end-of-year user’s choice competition used one of the two characters as its name. We proclaimed 2017 the Year of the Chick, in anticipation of the Chinese New Year. Ji (姬) , an archaic word for concubine or high-end, and inevitably very talented, courtesan, is a homonym for Ji (鸡) or chicken or rooster.