This Mascot Hell is Just Beginning

Few would dispute that Beijing pulled off a very successful 2008 summer Olympics. Still, if you wanted to argue that there were five little flies in that craptaculicious ointment, they would be these guys:


The Fuwa (福娃). They’re lame.

Even the Beijing Olympic Committee seemed to get it… the Fuwa did not figure largely in the various displays of “China is so awesome.”

Now, as the Fuwa awkwardly fade into obscurity, Shanghai has to deal with a mascot far more horrible: Haibao (海宝). Yikes.

Haibao (海宝)

If you’re really a glutton for punishment, this song and video from the Shanghai 2010 World Expo website will have you cringing in no time.

It doesn’t stop at Haibao, though. Over the weekend, I found out that there’s a Shanghai Shopping Festival (上海购物节). Its very existence is absurd, but the worst part is that it has two more bad mascots: Kaikai (开开) and Xinxin (心心).

Shopping Festival Me with Kaikai

I’m not sure why China has decided to unleash this mascot hell upon us, but I have a sinking feeling that it has only just begun…


John Pasden

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


  1. green apron monkey Says: September 18, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Sea Treasure?

  2. 我很喜欢福娃!
    海宝 not so much.

  3. The greatest thing to happen at the Olympics was of course, the amazing angry Fuwa dance:

    Genius to the max.

  4. Don’t think they’re just confining it to the Mainland. They’ve gone and spawned these things in Vancouver for the 2010 Games, too!

    China takes over world, starts with 2010 Olympic mascots, exacerbates Canadian identity crisis

  5. I actually like the Fuwa. Jingjing is pretty cool, and Huanhuan is a walking torch. That is cool.

    Haibao, on the other hand, is worse than Beibei. It sounds like a Chinese Web 2.0 payment system and looks like a tooth. Rule #1 of mascot creation should be to avoid stirring up memories of root canals.

  6. 开开 is a box and 心心 is a guy in a green shirt?

  7. […] the Olympics, Shanghai unleashes more mascot mania with a pair of cartoon shopping bags, one of which suspiciously resembles the cartoon drop of water who represents the Shanghai Expo […]

  8. In our appartment the Fuwa live on. My small son got infected with the Fuwa craze by his cousin in March in Beiijing – but being in Germany since then hasn’t gotten the message that the games are eventually over and so is the fad.

    So his 8 Fuwa puppets still watch over his bed. Every night.

    And he was utterly disappointed not to see the Fuwa at the Olympics. He even kept insisteng that those games are indeed not at all the Olympics. No Fuwa – no Olympics. Big lie. Now that is a state of the art conspiracy theory.

  9. Guys,

    That is much better than 海尔兄弟,the mascot of a well-known Chinese consumer electronics company. It’s just horrible.

  10. Hi guys,
    Here are official mascots called “警警 and 察察”, which are the official mascots of virtual police (警察) on the Chinese Internet. Just hilarious.

  11. Hahahahaha…the mascots are pretty cute. Not really hellish though.

  12. Haibao looks like a rejected character from Spongebob. China should learn about mascots from the Philly Fanatic.

  13. trevelyan,

    Yeah, I have to admit that the Fuwa are way, way better than Haibao. Haibao doesn’t really look like a tooth to me, but rather more of a really cheap brand of toothpaste’s mascot.

  14. Actually most people over at the lj olympics community seem to really like the Fuwa.

    As does Guo jingjing:

    I thought they were one of the highlights of the games, even though I didn’t care for them initially. The Shanghai mascot does suck entirely though.

  15. You’re right…that thing is positively awful…

    I can’t even believe someone came up with that song and video. He/she must’ve had a terrible childhood.

  16. I suppose you have not seen Taiwan’s “Open-Chan,” the mascot of 7-11:

    The self-haters will want to hear this, too:

    It’s not that Mayday is bad. I really like them, but the cuteness of this MV is just plain scary!

  17. Haibao looks like a really cheap rip-off of that clay animation “Gumby” character that was on TV for 35 years.

  18. Fuwa are for children, not adults.

    I took a couple of them – the panda and the Tibetan antelope – back to England with me. They were for my cousins’ Christening. However, I have a feeling that my uncle refused to give them to the kids: worried about dodgy Chinese toys I suspect.

  19. […] ok. Back in September 2008 John Pasden of the Sinosplice blog discussed how the five Olympic Fuwa of Friendliness were finally fading into obscurity. Today only the echoes […]

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