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City to Name Airport After Brand of Baijiu


May 25, 2012
By Pang Lei
and Gao Xin

China plans to rebuild or expand 101 airports and construct 70 new ones over the coming five years, but the new airport being built on the outskirts of Yibin, a major regional center at the head of the Yangtze in the southwestern province of Sichuan, will be a little different from the others - it's going to be the first Chinese airport to be named after a company, and a liquor company at that.

Officials from the Yibin city government announced at a press conference earlier this week that in addition to moving and rebuilding the city's airport, they will also change its name to Yibin Wuliangye Airport in honor of the well-known brand of alcohol that is produced in the city.

The company, which employs thousands of people in the city and submits a large chunk of the city's government revenue, is a state-owned group with a subsidiary listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

Wuliangye Group also  include an introduction to Yibin, or the liquor city as they prefer to call it, on their official website.

A bottle of the company's trademark 52 degree baijiu currently sells for around 1,000 yuan a bottle.

Officials said that their plan has already been given a green light by the State Council, the equivalent of China's cabinet.

Construction of the new airport is expected to start this year and will take more than three years to complete.

Opposition to the Plan

As part of a lively debate about the merits of such a decision, Caijing quoted Zhang Qihuai, an expert with the China Aviation Law Service Center, as saying that according to existing regulations an airport should be named after an administrative division or geographic location.

Zhang argued that the Yibin government would need to change existing regulations if it wanted to go ahead with the plan to name the airport after Wuliangye.

Representatives of the government argue that it's a win-win proposition for the company and the city - by naming the airport after the expensive fiery spirit, they're not only increasing the popularity of the city as a tourist destination but they'll also help to promote the Wuliangye brand.

Links and Sources
Caijing: 宜宾机场冠名五粮液被指违规无先例



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