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Daily Digest | Gallows humor

Written by The Uptake Published on   2 mins read

What’s in a name?

Hi. It’s Brady again.

Another day, another investigation. This time, Meituan is being probed for its 2018 acquisition of Mobike, a bike-sharing firm.

By now, it’s clear that no company is immune to this type of regulatory scrutiny. Government officials will be tracing backward in time to examine every deal, every price adjustment and pass every piece of data through a sieve to “rectify” the entire tech sector in China. My colleague Mengyuan had the story.

The joke now is that corporate China is scrambling to align itself with “common prosperity,” a policy buzz phrase that has taken on prime importance in Beijing’s upper echelons. In a WeChat post, Meituan’s founder and CEO, Wang Xing, said his company’s name means to be “better together.”

That spun off even more chuckles. By chopping up companies’ names and looking at them character by character, Alibaba could be interpreted as “love you, fatherland.” Pinduoduo was decoded as “those who love to work hard gain a little wealth, a little happiness.” These sound clunky in English, but you get the idea.

The crackdown is far from over, and we will surely hear about more probes into dubious business dealings—with people coping by crafting a few more punchlines.

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