iPhone 7 slogan translates into "This is penis" in Hong Kong

A classic example of "lost in translation"

Every generation of iPhone has had a slogan of its own. Recent examples include "This changes everything, again" and "Bigger than bigger". The global slogan to accompany the launch of iPhone 7 is simply "This is 7".

While it's not the most inspiring slogan to ever grace a billboard, it makes even less of an impact in China, which is one of Apple's largest markets. 

Quartz looked at the slogan in the various Chinese dialects and found the following translations:

  • China: 7, is here
  • Taiwan: Exactly is 7 
  • Hong Kong: This, is exactly 7

Those living in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, whilst those in China and Taiwan speak Mandarin. Both languages vary massively in sound and how they are written. 

In Cantonese, seven is pronounced 'chat'. This also happens to be a slang word for 'penis'. It's often used to mock someone and is rarely used to cause offence. 

Locals in Hong Kong have picked up on the marketing gaff and many are mocking the fact that giant billboards are now displaying images of iPhone 7, with the slogan "This is penis".

This isn't the first time the 7 / penis mix-up has impacted a tech firm. Korean company Samsung unveiled their Note 7 earlier this year and Hong Kongers joked that "Note 7" sounded like "a stick of penis" in Cantonese.