Communication is very important, especially when you work with diverse cultures and need to communicate with employees across multiple countries.

At Momentum Works we often experience how cultural context can shape the meaning of the same word very differently. For instance, what our Chinese colleagues understood by the word ‘content’ (all kinds of media: written, photos, videos) was very different from what our Indonesian colleagues understood (they understood it to mean only written content).

Though there are a lot of translation tools in the market, they sometimes fail to capture the real meaning of certain words. For example, an online translator will tell you that ‘水军’ (shui jun) means ‘navy’ or literally ‘water army’ but the phrase actually refers to trolls who are paid to promote or criticise organisations, companies or individuals online.

To help you understand some of the nuances behind Chinese tech slang, we have co-produced an infographic with the folks at Kr-Asia.

This is a list of must-know-words in order to have an easier time navigating the world of Chinese tech startups:

Bao Lei 暴雷

Literal meaning: Thunder vs. Actual meaning: Incidents involving P2P lending platforms going bust.

Chi Gua 吃瓜

Literal meaning: Eating melon vs. Actual meaning: Onlookers, often used humorously.

Chu Hai 出海

Literal meaning: Going out to the sea vs. Actual meaning: Expand the business overseas.

Da Call 打 Call

Literal meaning: Make a call vs. Actual meaning: Cheer for someone.

Fo Xi 佛系

Literal meaning: Buddhism vs. Actual meaning: Calm attitude come what may.

Ge Jiu Cai 割韭菜

Literal meaning: Cut leeks vs. Actual meaning: Money from ill-informed users / pump-and-dump

Hai Gui 海龟

Literal meaning: Sea turtle vs. Actual meaning: Returnees coming back from overseas

Hua Ming 花名

Literal meaning: Flower name vs. Actual meaning: ‘Nickname’ culture from Alibaba early on.

Liang Liang 凉凉

Literal meaning: Very cold vs. Actual meaning: Falling into a poor position.

Shui Jun 水军

Literal meaning: Water army or navy vs. Actual meaning: People paid to criticise or promote others.

Sai Dao 赛道

Literal meaning: Track vs. Actual meaning: Areas or sectors to invest in.

Wang Hong 网红

Literal meaning: Net red vs. Actual meaning: Internet celebrity.

BONUS! 996

Literal meaning: Nine hundred and ninety-six vs. Actual meaning: Work 9 to 9 six days a week

This article is co-produced by Momentum Works & Kr-Asia.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].