Wuhan Subway Rescinds Deals to Name Stations with Merchandise Brands
A few days ago we told you how businesses in Wuhan bought the right to prefix their brands to names of subway stations in the city. As noted, there has been criticism of the practice, on the ground of excessive commercialization and inconvenience to train riders. Now managers of Wuhan Subway, evidently pressed by the municipal government of Wuhan, have decided to call off their deals with the sponsors. The subway stations will be known for original geo-based names. After all, there won’t be a subway station named Black Duck Zhou, the specialty food chain that had agreed to pay over 5 million Chinese dollars to associate its name with one station for six years.
If the negotiated deals were to go forward, nine stations on the to-be-opened Wuhan Subway Line 2 would bear names of various merchandise, in additional to their original names. Besides Black Duck Zhou, the particular sponsor that set off the public outcry, a few department stores and shopping malls signed up as sponsors. With the arrangements annulled, Wuhan Subway stands to lose ¥27 million in revenue.
No words on similar arrangements in other Chinese cities. It is imaginable that had Wuhan Subway not signed with Black Duck Zhou, its other sponsor arrangements would probably have survived. People just found the deal with Black Duck Zhou particularly tasteless.