Uygurs learn what's in a name

Updated: 2014-04-22 08:42

By Cui Jia and Gao Bo (China Daily)

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Uygurs learn what's in a name

Customers select Ugsport sportwear, a Uygur brand popular in Urumqi.[Chen Yan / For China Daily]

The company now has five outlets in Urumqi and a further 26 across the region. It employs more than 400 people, and average annual sales are about 15 million yuan, with a narrow profit margin of 10 percent. The shops have distinctive facades bearing designs in Uygur and Chinese and all the members of staff are required to wear the company uniform.

"In 2013, I signed a contract with a Shanghai company to supply 150 local supermarkets with 3 million naan a year. Shanghai is the perfect place to begin building a logistics system outside Xinjiang," Abulajan said.

According to Shamila Salai, the legal representative of the Qishi trademark registration agency in Urumqi, the number of Uygur businesses that applied for trademarks doubled in 2013 compared with the previous year because Xinjiang's budding entrepreneurs are becoming more business-savvy.

"We handled about 20 trademark applications in 2013. Most of the products were food, drinks and clothing. Local businesspeople have become very conscious of the need to brand their products effectively," said Shamila. In the past 10 years, many of her customers who started out in Urumqi have become well-known in Xinjiang.

"Unlike previous generations, some of the new entrepreneurs have registered trademarks for their restaurants to protect their rights. We translate the applications from the Uygur ethnic language into Chinese, and provide a consultation service for our clients for 10 years after registration," she said, adding that the quality of the goods being trademarked is constantly improving.

Adila Yusup, who runs the trademark registration unit at the Istemi agency in Urumqi, said: "The company was founded in June 2011. During our first year we handled fewer than 100 applications, but the number soared to nearly 300 the following year."

Adila said his clients' businesses are mainly related to clothing, foodstuffs and restaurants. Istemi offers clients legal advice on protecting their rights and dealing with cases of copyright infringement.

"When some of our clients' businesses had reached a certain scale, officials from the local industry and commerce administration suggested that the owners should register trademarks in case of infringement issues. Most of the clients come to us as soon as their business licenses are approved because it can take as long as two years to complete the trademark registration process," he said.

Sporting success

Aniwar Turson registered his sportswear company, Ugsport, in 2012. "Uygurs are very passionate about soccer, but we don't have a sports brand of our own," he said.

The company employs two famous Uygur soccer players with large local fan bases as brand spokesmen, a strategy that seems to be paying off, and makes extensive use of social media to promote its goods.