Chinese Terminology: Big brother
Updated 20:34, 09-Dec-2018
And now, it's time for China 24's special series - 'Chinese Terminology', where we help explain the magnitude of China's reform and opening up --which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Today, Jeff Moody looks at the term '大哥大'or 'Big Brother'.
This is the first generation of mobile phone, and back in the 1990s, it was all the rage. But in China, mobile phones had a different name. They were called Big Brother.
First invented by the American company Motorola in 1973, Big Brother entered China in 1987. It quickly became an important tool for communication and social interaction. This mobile phone is just like the first phone I bought - thick and bulky, like a black brick, and weighs about half a kilo. It has no other functions except for calling, and the quality of the call is not good. People often had to shout so the other party could hear clearly. Due to the size of Big Brother and due to the fact that people who used it were mostly big brothers in the business world, this thing quickly became a status symbol. The message carried by the words 'Big Brother' was clear, the owner had status and wealth. Some of the popular cellphone brands in China at that time were all foreign ones such as Motorola, Ericsson, and Nokia. However things are now very different. More people use mobile phones in China than in any other country. And not just any phone. With brands from Huawei and Xiaomi at the very top of their game, Chinese mobile phones are giving western devices a serious run for their money.