Oyo! Shanghai's Subway Video Shopping Guide

Oyoo.com screenshot

Oyoo.com screenshot

哦哟! is a Chinese expression that means something like, “whoa!” But 哦哟!视频 (www.oyoo.com) is a video guide to the shops along Shanghai’s subway lines. Ads for the new website are currently plastered all over the Shanghai subway system.

It’s an interesting concept. You take a bunch of short videos, set them to poppy music, and put them on the site in YouTube fashion. But the videos taken are all of shops along Shanghai’s subway line. They’re organized by subway stop as well as by category: 好吃 (food), 好玩 (entertainment), 好看 (clothing and accessories), 好家 (home decoration/furnishing), 好学 (education), 好朋友 (partners?).

I must say, the videos offered are all pretty dull (with the possible exception of the “Transformer Heaven” shop video); they’re all basically just poorly shot commercials. I also don’t see a lot of evidence of activity. I’m not sure that 时代报 (Metro Express) has what it takes to make this site work, but it’s good to see the Chinese experimenting. Other encouraging signs: the site is relatively free of the cluttered design that plagues Chinese websites, and the page looks fine in Firefox!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. “hao peng you” = good friends

  2. CW,

    Um, thanks, but if you look at the videos in the 好朋友 section, it’s not videos of “good friends.”

  3. dogg,

    does anybody know what happened to doom?

  4. Hrm. You should get kickbacks from the shops you film if you’re going through all the trouble of adding this onto ooyoo.com. Is there an incentive system similar to Revver.com? I guess this is pretty useful if I was looking for something to do and had only enough cash for a subway ticket and some leftover for whatever consumption I was going to do at my destination.

    Check out http://toodou.com and http://6rooms.com for more Chinese YouTube-like goodness.

  5. Jacques Aandy Says: September 15, 2006 at 3:10 am

    On a different topic, opinions are solicited (but without China bashing):
    1)Can anything be done about how to handle having 4000 people with the name Chen Jie in Shanghai alone? (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5345302.stm ) ….
    2) along the same lines .. where can I find official results if any, of any studies on why there are, relatively speaking, so few phonetic syllables in the Chinese language (why do so many words that have different meaning, share exactly the same sounds (and often enough, even the same characters)?
    I know that in language there is such a thing as (that’s just the way the language is), but I just wondered if there has been studies or intelligent guesses. Remember, no China or Chinese bashing please.

    Thanks. – Jacques

  6. Da Xiangchang Says: September 15, 2006 at 7:10 am


    Thanks an interesting question, and I’ll attack it from a non-linguistic angle–cuz, linguistically, my Chinese comprehensive skills suck. So . . .

    Since like over 90% of China’s population is Han, over 1 billion people share a common culture. With no outside influences, Chinese people can only have Chinese names: Chen, Li, Wong, etc. It’s not a deficiency of the Chinese language but rather there are too many Chinese people. (For example, Europe, which has like half of China’s population, has like a ton of different cultures. That’s why you have Europeans [and their descendants] with such disparate names as, I don’t know, Schwarzenegger, McCain, and Brockovich.) I think the only solution is for the Chinese to make up original first names for their kids (according to the article, they’re restricted but is this true?).

    In the end, Chen Jie is probably just the equivalent of, I don’t know, Michael Smith–except there are a lot more Chen Jies in the world.

  7. (according to the article, they’re restricted but is this true?).

    No, this is not true to first (given) names. Surnames are restricted, and inherated, but given names are not.

    Parents choose given names with popular characters because, well, those are usually nice sounding and/or well meaning. You wouldn’t want to pick characters that mean or simply sound like, e.g., “die” or “vomit” or “urine”…. And you would want to avoid characters that have too many homonyms, or contain greater than say 35 strokes, or can count on only 35 people in the world to recognize.

  8. Jacques Aandy Says: September 16, 2006 at 12:36 am

    Thanks. Points well taken about names. Anyone willing to take a carck at the 2nd part of the question (second question .. about the relatively few phonetic syllables)? .. John, have you seen any studies on this?

    Thanks. – Jacques

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