Word of the Week: Panbi

Editor’s Note: The CDT Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness. The Word of the Week features Lexicon entries old, new and timely.
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潘币 (Pānbì): Panbi

One panbi from the “SOHO Real Estate Bank of China.” SOHO China, Pan’s real estate company, is the biggest developer in Beijing. (Rebel Pepper)

Steve Jobs’ death on October 5, 2011 triggered an enormous reaction from Chinese netizens. The Beijing real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi has also rode the wave, posting the following tweet on his Weibo:

PanShiyi: Apple’s board of directors should make the following decision: To immediately manufacture iPhones and iPads that are under RMB1000 [about US$157] so that more people can afford Apple products. This is the best way to commemorate Jobs.

潘石屹:“苹果”董事会应该马上做一决定:大量生产1000元人民币以下一部的iPhone手机和iPad,让更多(人)用上“苹果“,这是对乔布斯最好的纪念。

One netizen rejoined:

 TangRouding9983: When Mr. Pan passes away some day, your company should offer homes that are under RMB1000 per square meter. Over a billion people will commemorate you then.

唐若丁9983:潘总哪天要也去世了,也请贵公司推出1000一平米的房子吧,十几亿人民都会纪念您。

Pan soon deleted the original post, but his new title, “The 1000 Pan,” spread rapidly. Netizens turned their frustration at China’s housing bubble on Pan by naming a new form of money, the panbi (literally “Pan currency“), in his honor. Pan himself is the base unit of the panbi; one Pan is equivalent to RMB1000 per square meter. Thus, an apartment that normally costs RMB24,000 per square meeter would only cost 24 Pan per square meter.