Alibaba’s use of ‘pig’ for new web name anger­sMus­lims

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - ByWANG XIAODONG wangx­i­adong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba changed the name of its travel web­site to cater to the younger gen­er­a­tion, its pri­mary cus­tomer group, the com­pany an­nounced on Tues­day.

The group an­nounced last week that it was rebranding its travel por­tal, chang­ing the name of the web­site from Al­itrip.com to Fliggy.com. The new name is feizhu, or “fly­ing pig” in Chi­nese. The com­pany also in­tro­duced a car­toon-like im­age of a pig as its newl­ogo.

“A key goal of the rebranding is to ap­peal to a younger de­mo­graphic that ac­counts for more than 80 per­cent of our cus­tomer base,” Alibaba said in a state­ment.

About 80 per­cent of the users of Fliggy.com are born af­ter 1985, and the com­pany willaimto pro­vide ser­vices for the group in the fu­ture, Li Shao­hua, CEO of Fliggy.com, told Na­tional Busi­ness Daily on Tues­day. The new name is mor­ei­den­ti­fi­able­an­deasier to re­mem­ber, the re­port said.

The de­ci­sion sparked heated dis­cus­sions in the past few days, es­pe­cially among Mus­lims,

Peng Gaocheng,

re­tired eth­nic stud­ies ex­pert in Shang­hai who un­clean.

Adili Maimaiti­ture, a Uyghur food in­dus­try en­tre­pre­neur in Chang­sha, Hu­nan prov­ince, said on Fri­day on Sina Weibo that he used to sup­port Al­itrip, as it makes book­ing train or air tick­ets for peo­ple of eth­nic groups more con­ve­nient, but he will choose to delete the app as the name has been changed to feizhu. He said pigs are taboo for Mus­lims, and Alibaba should have con­sid­ered this be­fore chang­ingth­ename. He­saidhe be­lieves that other Mus­lims con­sider pigs would ac­tion.

Peng Gaocheng, a re­tired eth­nic stud­ies ex­pert in Shang­hai, said Maimaiti­ture’s con­cern is rea­son­able. “I think Alibaba should be more cau­tious about chang­ing its name in case some Mus­lims feel of­fended,” Peng told Sixth Tone, an English web­site owned by ThePaper.con.

Alibaba said in its state­ment: “We em­brace di­ver­sity, and re­spect all creeds and re­li­gions. The name change is meant to re­flect the de­mo­graphic’s as­pi­ra­tions to pur­sue dreams, sit­backan­den­joylife.”

A ne­ti­zen named Han Dongyan said on Sina Weibo, “Alibaba has the right to change a name, and it is wrong to call on oth­ers to boy­cott it just be­cause of a sym­bol.”

Later, Maimaiti­ture said on Si­naWeibo that he apol­o­gized for his “im­proper ex­pres­sion” over the name change.

Feizhu is just a name and it has no sub­stan­tial mean­ing,” an­other ne­ti­zen said. “It is non­sense to boy­cott the com­pany just for chang­ing its name.” also take the same

I think Alibaba should be more cau­tious about chang­ing its name in case some Mus­lims feel of­fended.”

Ma Si con­trib­uted to this story.

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