Hong Kong iTunes Store Gets Criticism for Using Mandarin Pinyin

2012.7.5 Apple Daily (Screen Capture)

Apple’s Hong Kong iTunes Music Store was launched on last Wednesday. Fans can purchase songs from iPhones and iPads easily. Who would have thought that names of songs and singers would be in Mandarin pinyin? Many Hongkonger don’t understand at all. Some people doubt if Apple assists in the invasion of Mainland Chinese culture and elimination of traditional Chinese character. An Apple Daily reporter went to the Apple’s flagship store to understand. At dawn, iTunes immediately erased some pinyin and added back traditional Chinese character. Among 10 Cantonese and Taiwanese songs, 8 were in Mandarin pinyin. For instance, Taiwanese song “那些年” (*Those Years) became “Na Xie Nian” and Eason Chan’s “富士山下” (*Under Mount Fiji) became “Fu Shi Shan Xia”. Even names of singers were in pinyin.

Fans scolded crazily in forums

“I was shocked. I thought that I had entered iTunes China. In the land of Hong Kong, it is illogical to use Mandarin pinyin. I can’t understand at all.” Ah Yin expressed that he had called Apple to complain. A staff claimed that one could leave a complaint message under the rating section of the song purchased. He then bought “A Good Man” from Justin Lo and requested the use of traditional Chinese character.

Ah Yin thinks that Apple curries favour with Mainland Chinese and therefore Mainlandised Hong Kong iTunes, trampling on the dignity of Hongkonger. “I am really angry. Apple doesn’t care even after several complaints.” He therefore complained to Apple Daily.

Recently, many fans have criticised Apple through rating sections, forums and Facebook. “Names of songs and singers are in Mandarin pinyin? Totally don’t understand.” “This is Hong Kong. Please respect her.”

Staffs of Apple Store Admit Mistake

Yesterday at 12 pm, our reporter went to Central IFC Apple’s flagship store to inquire. Staff Daniel pointed out that once one logs in Hong Kong iTunes, Mandarin pinyin will be reverted back to traditional Chinese character. However, when our reporter did the same, names of songs were still in Mandarin pinyin. Later, we tested with display iPhones in the store, and the results were the same. Daniel admitted that he didn’t recognise the problem, “I also don’t understand. I don’t know stuffs from the top.” Even though we didn’t get answers, iTunes changed Mandarin pinyin to traditional Chinese character at around 6pm yesterday.

Warner music digital department Mr Wong, who provides songs to Apple, said that he recognised Mandarin pinyin problem at 3 am on last Thursday (June 28th) and has told Apple about it. Apple claimed that it would change to traditional Chinese character. He said that he gives both traditional Chinese and Mandarin pinyin names when semding music files to Apple.

Some Comments from Hong Kong iTunes

Cantonese songs, why all of them are in Mandarin transliterations?

I love this app. However, Apple please respect the original creation and use Cantonese song name. The fee is charged in Hong Kong Dollar. However, names of songs are all in Mandarin transliterations. I totally can’t understand! If there is a market need, then use both languages. Respect consumers of different regions.

Please give a column to Kay Tse and change all the Mainland pinyin into traditional Chinese character

Hey, now I am in Hong Kong. Why are all the songs of Kay Tse  in Mandarin pinyin? Is it for the convenience of Mainlander/Gwailo?! What the hack?! Khalil Fong got a column surprisingly and there is none for diva Kay Tse?! What’s wrong with iTunes?

Please use traditional Chinese character to write the song name.

I love this song. But please use traditional Chinese character to write song names. This is Hong Kong. Please respect her.


4 thoughts on “Hong Kong iTunes Store Gets Criticism for Using Mandarin Pinyin

  1. I have bought Cantonese songs on iTunes before, and they were all in Mandarin Pinyin, despite it being a full Cantonese song straight from the heart of Hong Kong, sung by George Lam…

  2. I believe most of the pinyinized album info dates back to before the introduction of Hong Kong’s local iTunes store, however I hope this can be retroactively rectified, and as quickly as possible.

  3. Pingback: iTunes translation incensed Hong Kong | International Business News | Conversis | The Conversation

  4. I would be very surprised if Apple even realised. Everyone in North America seems to assume that Mandarin is the way to use pinyin for the rest of the world. Starbucks and Pacific Coffee also write their warnings on the side of their cups in Simplified Chinese. Don’t forget, Apple using pinyin for songs is half their problem, half that of the companies supplying them to Apple. Maybe Warner HK should also stop using pinyin in their HK business.

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