In a sign that the Chinese market is extremely important to the company, Gulfstream earlier this week changed the name of its super-midsize business jet from the Gulfstream G250 to the Gulfstream G280. The change was prompted because the company “determined that G280 is a more amenable number sequence in certain cultures,” said Larry Flynn, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We value our international customers highly, and this change reflects our commitment to understanding the diverse cultures of our global business environment.”
The release went on to say that the renaming would be limited to the G250.
So what’s the China connection?
While Gulfstream in its official release left the exact reason for the change unsaid, the real answer seems clear. In Chinese culture, certain numbers are considered lucky or unlucky, positive or negative, based on a number of factors, including the close sound of otherwise unrelated words. It just so happens that in Mandarin, the number “250” is commonly used to call someone an “imbecile.” The number “280” has no such implication.