Chinese Beverage Chain SexyTea’s Logo and Name Trigger Controversy

The third store of Chinese beverage brand SexyTea in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, was officially opened on September 9. However, the combination of the English name and the logo with a classic female image triggered public controversy.

“SexyTea” is written in English on the outside of only one of the three stores it has opened in Nanjing. Some netizens think that SexyTea is representative of Chinese bubble tea and has a typical flavor of such beverages. As a result, using the English expression of “SexyTea” is not appropriate.

The logo on the wall of the Nanjing store of SexyTea (Source: Weibo)

Others think that “sexy” has many different meanings in English, yet there are so many English words to choose from. They wonder why the brand chose such a word that has little to do with the characteristics of the brand and may easily cause misunderstanding.

The Nanjing store of SexyTea (Source: SexyTea)

An employee of Nanjing’s market regulator expressed his opinion in response to domestic media’s consulting. “It’s difficult to determine whether the advertising or trademark are involved in any violations. But if the advertising or trademarks use a vulgar expression or easily make consumers uncomfortable, then merchants should make the necessary adjustments.” he said.

SexyTea was registered in Changsha, Hunan Province on March 28, 2015. According to the creative milk tea shops in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Taiwan, SexyTea creates a compound catering business with innovative thinking. As of October 2021, SexyTea has stores in Changsha, Changde in Hunan Province and Wuhan in Hubei Province. It opened stores in Shenzhen in April 2021, but soon withdrew from the city. On April 2, 2022, it announced that it would enter a new market – Chongqing – which spurred the brand’s newfound celebrity status.

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At the end of last year, SexyTea’s founder, Lv Liang, admitted that it had lost more than 20 million yuan a month after employees complained about their pay. Last year, SexyTea closed up their stores three times.

This is not the first time SexyTea has come under fire for improper publicity. In February 2021, some netizens questioned its objectification of women by labeling “there are many beautiful women who buy milk tea. If you happen to know one, you can whisper to your partners that you are in luck” on the packaging. Later, SexyTea apologized for the improper formation of the Changsha slang.