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In China, there are two entity types of limited company:

  1. 有限责任公司 / 有限公司: 中国移动通信集团 有限公司 | China Mobile Communications Group Co Ltd
  2. 股份有限公司 / 股份公司: 中国石油天然气 股份有限公司 | PetroChina Co Ltd

Questions:

  1. Entity Types:
    • I wonder why they both end in Co Ltd, although they are different in Chinese. How about use LLC/Inc? Just like France’s SARL (= société à responsabilité limitée), can China’s companies use YG (= Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī) and GYG (= Gǔfèn Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī)?
    • How to reconcile company names with their Latin counterparts”. Legal experts are indeed more helpful here. In United States Federal Acquisition Circular 4.2101 (2), 海能达通信 股份有限公司 is referred as Hytera Communications Corp but 杭州海康威视数字技术 股份有限公司 is referred as Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Why they are different?
  2. Besides, how does 中国石油天然气 become PetroChina? Where is “Natural Gas”? I know it is a brand name, but do they have such flexibility in writing registration name in Latin alphabet?

PS I found an Amazon seller called Shenzhen Shi Chengxinqi Keji Youxian Gongsi

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    Generally it's best to stick to just one question. Would it be possible to edit to highlight which is the main question please? – Becky 李蓓 Apr 24 at 2:09
  • @Becky 李蓓 Thanks, but I think it is fine to ask two questions together and they are equally important. – Bosai Apr 24 at 2:17
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    According to Wikipedia LLC is a US-specific term; other Anglophone countries usually use Ltd Therefore 有限公司 = Ltd seems like a good translation to me. Interestingly, in Vietnam, the equivalent of 股份有限公司, công ty cổ phần (公司股份), is translated as Joint-Stock Company (JSC). – 范阮煌 Apr 24 at 3:40
  • Thank you @范阮煌. You are right, LLC is a US-specific term. Actually, LLC is more like Pty Ltd in Australia (rather than Ltd in Australia), is more like Ltd in the United Kingdom (rather than plc in the United Kingdom). Also, thank you providing example of công ty cổ phần Joint-Stock Company. – Bosai Apr 24 at 3:51
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  1. According to this: https://baike.baidu.com/item/Co.%2CLtd./2133872, seems like Co Ltd can be used for 有限公司 and 股份有限公司. I don't remember if I have seen LLC used in China. I think it's rare.

  2. Usually big companies pick there English names carefully. I think the main consideration here is better internationalization. Pinyin is meaningless for westerners and hard to remember. It could even take a native speaker a while to figure out what exactly the Pinyin says. It is better to choose a name that:

    • reflects the main meaning of the Chinese name
    • uses meaningful words in English, like Petro
    • and/or has close pronunciation to the Chinese name

And for those western companies which entered China and picked there Chinese names, these principles applied more or less, like 谷歌 for Google.

| improve this answer | |
  • “uses meaningful words in English, like Petro” makes sense. But from 中国石油天然气 to PetroChina, where is natural gas / 天然气? – Bosai Apr 24 at 3:11
  • The petro in petrochemical includes natural gas. – Becky 李蓓 Apr 24 at 3:20
  • Thanks @Becky李蓓 for mentioning that petro includes gas. And even if it does not, it's not a problem. It's up to the company to choose the name. Names don't have to be translated literally. – Alvin Cao Apr 24 at 3:35
  • Petro usually stands for petroleum, which is 石油. Petrochemical cannot simply be called as petro. Let's set aside this controversy first. Then, I search petrochemical, I got 石油化工. You mentioned petrochemical includes natural gas, that is right, but people cannot translate 天然气 to petrochemical, just like 男孩 cannot be translated to child / children. – Bosai Apr 24 at 3:42
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    @Bosai LLC is a US concept. I don't think there is a counterpart in Chinese law system. It's not about translation. It's about what LLC really is. I found this article(Chinese), it may shed some light. BTW, I'm not a lawyer :). – Alvin Cao Apr 24 at 3:47
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There is a great deal of flexibility in the writing of registered company names.

Geely—浙江吉利控股集团有限公司

Sinopec—中国石油化工集团公司

Tencent—腾讯控股有限公司

As you can see, these famous companies do not just transliterate their Chinese names into Pinyin, but come up with a more English-sounding name instead.

Wikipedia has a page on the entity types for Chinese companies. It would be ambiguous to use abbreviations like YG and GYG, since there is no true distinction between words in Chinese. A lot of Chinese people like to abbreviate “word for word”, like YXGS and GFYXGS for the examples you have brought up.

| improve this answer | |
  • Geely, Sinopec and Tencent sounds like brand names more, rather than name in registration. Probably China’s authority does not require register companies in Latin alphabet. But these companies still need something formal in international business. – Bosai Apr 24 at 2:22
  • Also, how about entity types? – Bosai Apr 24 at 2:24
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    This is more a question on the relevant Chinese laws governing the corporate registration / naming of companies. Every country has its own governing laws, and using the position in France or anywhere else is not cogent, all the more so when attempting to reconcile Chinese corporate names with their Latin / Romanized counterparts. Having said this however, I do feel it is a good question though no definitive answer could be given without considering the local legal position of which I am not an expert on. – Wayne Cheah Apr 24 at 2:43
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    It’s a colloquial occurrence, so the Chinese themselves won’t use such a representation. Furthermore, China seems to favour English translations over transliterations, especially on the international stage. – Axel Tong Apr 24 at 2:49
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    @Axel Tong Thank you for the explanation. I also found out Chinese companies prefer English translations than transliterations. For example, if you click the link of PetroChina, the address is 9 Dongzhimen North Street, rather than Dongzhimen Beidajie 9 Hao (东直门北大街 9 号). They translate 北 and 大街. However, when people refer an address in France and Korea, they still use rue and gil respectively rather than street. – Bosai Apr 24 at 3:02

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