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English>>China Society

Snack maker pays to put name on subway station

(Shanghai Daily)

16:22, November 15, 2012

PASSENGERS will now have spicy duck necks on their minds when they arrive at one subway station.

But selling naming rights for the station to a popular snack brand has led to criticism of the local officials in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

The name of the city's Jianghan Road Station on its Metro Line 2 is now prefaced by "Zhou Hei Ya," Wuhan-based food outlets famous for spicy duck necks.

The company outbid others with an offer of 5 million yuan (US$803,000) for six-year naming right as part of a public auction in December that netted the government a total of 27.75 million yuan for naming rights to seven stations, Changjiang Times reported yesterday. Officials said the local government was short of money and came up with the auction idea.

The Wuhan Metro Group Co Ltd excluded such businesses as male impotence clinics and beauty parlors to avoid distasteful names.

But while the renaming of other stations has not gotten much public support, adding the names of hospitals and developers hasn't stirred as much controversy on the Internet as the spicy duck necks.

Some thought it a win-win practice that publicizes both Wuhan and a local delicacy, but others disagreed and noted the name might have to be changed in six years.

"Are you kidding? The government has become that poor? You use our taxpayer funds but never ask for our advice?" an Internet user named sesame biscuit said.

"You can just put an advertisement in the train. The infrastructure should serve the public first. If that practice works for metro lines, maybe it is also OK to call government offices the Zhou Hei Ya Building," DearCathy wrote.

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