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Business Symbols & Abbreviations

18 Oct

Common Business, Economics, and Finance

Symbols & Abbreviations



Symbol & Abbreviation Meaning
Δ Change or Difference (ΔQ means the change in Quantity Demanded from time 1 to time 2
+ Plus, Rise, Goes Up, Increases, Add
Minus, Fall, Goes Down, Decreases, Subtract
QD Quantity Demanded (The number of products the consumers want and can purchase)
QS Quantity Supplied (The number of products the suppliers have available on the market)
P Profit
p price
± Plus or Minus. (QS = ±3 means that QS can either go up or down 3 depending on what you changed).
X < Y X is less than Y
X > Y X is more than Y | X is greater than Y
X the Vertical line on a graph
Y the Horizontal line on a graph


#Business and #Economics: Business Vocabulary with Chinese Translations (Update)

11 Oct

I’ve added new terms to the list of Business Vocabulary.

Don’t forget, the Chinese translations come from the Chinese students rather than professional translators. While I believe they are accurate, you may want to consult professionals before using them for official documents. This is mainly intended to contribute to daily conversation between English speaking Companies and Chinese companies.


v. = Verb
n. = Noun
adj. = Adjective
adv. = Adverb

(c) All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use this material. However, if you do end up using these definitions in your material (educational, informational, or professional), please include either a link to this webpage or the following reference: Blessing, Olivia. “Business Vocabulary with Chinese Translations.” This is for two reasons: 1) I’d like to share the resource with others. 2) I created these definitions myself. Thanks!


Bar Chart (n.) A way of showing information on a chart 图表. The chart shows the information divided up into rectangles. Each rectangle represents one factor and shows the “amount” of that factor.  Allows readers to compare and contrast different things.    条形图 – Tiáo xíng tú

Image result for bar chart

Capital (n.) ~ Wealth (usually money, but also includes other assets) used to buy the inputs and materials used in order to create products. The term has different meanings depending on whether you are an accountant, economist, or financial adviser. 资本 – zī běn

Graph (n.) ~ A way of showing the relationship between two factors in a picture or image form.  Two lines, one called “X” and one called “Y,” are each used to represent one factor.  Lines can then be drawn to show the relationship between X and Y as they change.   曲线图 – qū xiàn tú

Image result for line graph

Input (n.) ~ Resources used to create a product . . . technology, labor, raw materials, etc. Only materials used to make the product, not those used to sell, ship, etc.  用于创建产品的资源

Labor (n.) ~ 1Effort. The work you put into something (“Thomas wants a higher salary for his labor“). 劳动 – Láodòng 劳动是人类生产力为改变商品的使用价值和增加商品的价值的实际使用 2(In Economics & Finance) The number of employees (“When Capital is $15, the Labor is 4 employees“). Usually abbreviated 简短的 “L” in mathematical formulas and economic models. 劳动力 – Láodònglì

Labor (v.) ~ To work. To put effort into something.  劳动 – Láodòng

Loan (n.) ~ Money that A borrows from B and must eventually pay back. Often includes an extra “interest”息 fee.   – Dài

Marginal (adj.) ~ In Business & Economics – A factor of or something that results from small or little changes. Often the profit, cost, or revenue associated with having or making “one more” of something. 边际 – biān jì

Marginal Cost (n.) ~ The cost that comes when you make one more product. 边际成本 – biān jì chéng běn

Marginal Profit (n.) ~ The profit (revenue – cost) that comes when you make one more product. 边际利润 – Biān jì lì rùn

Marginal Revenue (n.) ~ The revenue that comes when you make one more product. 边际报酬 – biān jì bào chóu

Negative Correlation (n.) The situation when two things (X & Y) are related to one another so that if X increases, Y decreases. If X decreases, Y increases. (X & Y go in opposite directions). In economics, we often say two things are “inversely related” if there is a negative correlation. For example, if Price goes up then Quantity Demanded will go down. There is a negative correlation and they are inversely related 负相关– Fù xiāngguān

Output (n.) ~ The number of products created. 产量 – Chǎnliàng

Pie Chart (n.) ~ A way of showing information on a chart 图表. The chart is a circle divided into pieces, each representing a percent (%) of the whole “pie. 饼形图 – Bǐng xíng tú

Image result for pie chart

Positive Correlation (n.) ~ The situation when two things (X & Y) are related to one another so that if X increases, Y also increases. If X decreases, Y also decreases. 正相关 – Zhèng xiāngguān

Quantity (n.) ~ The specific amount of something. Answers the question: “How Much.” 空头 – Kōng tóu.

Rate (n.) ~ 1. The speed at which something happens. For example the “Turnover Rate” 周转率 can tell us how often employees leave a company and new ones have to be hired. 率 – lǜ  2. The percentage of X compared to Y. For example, the “Tax Rate” is how much of the Revenue (Y) is used for Taxes (X). 比率 – bǐ lǜ

Scatter Plot (n.) A way of showing information on a chart or graph. A “Scatter Plot” is a graph where the information does not make a straight line 直线. Instead it is “scattered” (疏散) around the graph. 散点图 – Sàn diǎn tú

Image result for scatter plot

Short Sell (v.) ~ X borrows stock from a stock broker, sells the stock, buys it back, and then returns the stock to the stock broker. 卖空 – Mài kōng

Stockbroker (n.) ~ Someone who buys and sells stocks (a middleman – 中间人).  证券经纪人 – Zhèngquàn jīngjì rén

Stock Market (n.) ~ A place (either a physical market or an online market) where buyers and sellers trade in company shares.  股市 – Gǔ shì

Stock Price (n.) ~ The cost of purchasing one share (股of a company. 股价 – Gǔjià

Substitution (v.) ~ Using one thing instead of another. Replacing X with Y. 取代 – Qǔdài

Managerial #Economics ~ Understanding #MRTS the Fun Way!

12 Jun

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in a Managerial Economics and Finance class. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.

PART 1 – Key Words

  1. Quantity (量) ~ How many products = Q (# of  🚗)
  2. Labor (员工) ~ The Number of Workers = L (👱)
  3. Capital (资金) ~ The Money ($$) we need = K (💲)
  4. Change (变化) ~ How much did the # change? = Δ(🔺)
  5. Marginal (边际成本) ~ Result if you add ONE MORE (+1) Q
  6. Rate (比率) ~ Ratio
  7. Substitution (取代) ~ XK = 1L (Substitution asks “what is X?”)
  8. Input (输入) ~ All the resources you put into a product. 
    1. Ice Cream 🍦has many inputs:
      1. Milk🥛
      2. Eggs🍳
      3. Sugar
      4. Ice
      5. Salt
      6. Chocolate Sauce
  9. Output (产量) ~ The product you create 
    1. Ice Cream 🍨🍦is the output!

Part 2 – The Relationship Between L, K, and Q

Every product (产量) can have lots of inputs (输入), just like the Ice Cream 🍦 or a Car 🚗.  

Input + Input + Input + Input = Output (🚗)

But in our class, we focus on TWO inputs: Labor (👱) and Money (💲)

Labor (👱) + Money (💲) = Quantity (🚗)
L (👱)+ K (💲)= Q(🚗)

Justin sells 200 cars 🚗every day. Not 201 cars. Not 199 cars. He sells EXACTLY 200 cars 🚗every day. 

L (👱) + K (💲) = 200 cars (🚗)

Justin knows that in ONE DAY🔆:

  • 1 worker 👱 can create 50% of a car 🚗~ 2 workers 👱👱can create 100% of a car 🚗(one car)
    • 1L = 0.5Q 🚗
    • 2L = 1Q 🚗
  • $5 💲 can pay for 20% of a car 🚗~ $25 💲can pay for 100% of a car 🚗(one car)
    • 1K = 0.2Q 🚗
    • 5K = 1Q 🚗

Rule #1 ~ If Land K ⬆, then the # of 🚗 cars will also ⬆

Rule #2 ~ If Land K ⬇, then the # of 🚗 cars will also ⬇

Rule #3 ~ If L ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is still 200 (stay the same), K must ⬆

Rule #4 ~ If K ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is still 200 (stay the same), L must ⬆


Today, Justin looks 🤔at his Money 💲and is NOT happy😭. He thinks he spends TOO MUCH money😡!  He wants to buy a new bicycle🚲, so he decides to SAVE $100 💲

This means today:

👱L + (💲K – 💲100K) = ? Q🚗

WHAT IS THE NEW Q (number of cars🚗) that Justin Makes Today?

Day 1 (Yesterday): 👱L + 💲K = 🚗200Q

Day 2 (Today): 👱L + (💲K – 💲100K) = 🚗200Q – all the 🚗cars $100K would pay for. 

Remember!  💲1K = 🚗0.20Q (one dollar pays for 0.20 cars in a day)

If Justin does not spend $100 today, he will lose the money for 20 cars! 

1K = 0.20 cars
💲-100K = -20 cars🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗🚗

ANSWER: Justin makes 180 cars today!

L + (K – 100K) = 200 cars – 20 cars 
= 180 cars🚗



NO!!!  😡Remember –> “Justin sells 200 cars 🚗every day. Not 201 cars. Not 199 cars. He sells EXACTLY 200 cars every day. ”  

PROBLEM:  How can Justin still make and sell 200 cars tomorrow if he still saves the $100 (-100K) as today.

Rule #4 ~ If 💲K ⬇  and the # of 🚗 cars is 200 (the same), 👱L must ⬆


QUESTION: HOW MUCH should 👱L  go up (⬆)?  

  • Step 1 ~ How many extra cars 🚗does Justin need to make? ~ Justin can make 180 cars right now if he saves $100 (-100K) but L stays the same as yesterday.  

200 🚗 – 180 🚗= 20🚗
Justin needs to make
👱L ⬆ enough to make 20 extra cars🚗 tomorrow.

  • Step 2 ~ How much L does Justin have to add (+) to make 20 more cars tomorrow?

?L + (K – 100K) = 200Q


👱1L = 0.5Q 🚗 | 👱👱2L = 1Q 🚗
20Q 🚗= 40L

ANSWER: Justin will have to hire 40 workers (+40L) in order to make 20 more cars tomorrow.



*Substitution = Adding L to Decrease K

(👱L + 👱40L) + (💲K – 💲100K) = 200 Q (🚗)

Part 3 ~ MRTS

MRTS = Marginal Rate of Technical Substitution


Go Back to Part 2.

  • 🔺K💲
    • Yesterday, Justin had K💲
    • Tomorrow, Justin has -100K💲
    • 🔺K = -100K💲
  • 🔺L👱
    • Yesterday, Justin had L👱
    • Tomorrow, Justin has +40L👱
    • 🔺L = +40L👱


CodeCogsEqn (2).gif

CodeCogsEqn (3).gif

MRTS = 5K : 2L |5💲 : 2👫

This just tells us:

  1. For every 2 👫workers Justin has, he spends $5💲💲💲💲💲.
  2. For every 1 👱worker Just has, he spends $2.50💲💲½
  3. If Justin wants to hire 1 worker (+1L) , he will save $2.50 (-2.50K)
  4. I Justin wants to save $40 (-40K), he must hire 16 workers (+16L)

MRTS shows how much L👱 can be a substitute for K💲!

#Emoji Economics

10 Jun

Lol – explaining MRTS and upper level economics theories to a student via emoji and wechat messenger. 😂 

The ways we adapt to the ESL academic class!

#Business in #China ~ #Contracts

4 Jun

One of the problems I repeatedly encounter in China is the fact that they view contracts as “guidelines rather than actual rules.” The American business system and legal system interprets a contract as law — If you agreed to it, you MUST do it. The Chinese professionals I have worked with interpret contracts as “this is what we think might work, but it’s always open to reinterpretation and change later.” One year I was actually told (after completing all of the required work) “Oh, well, what we said was really just too excessive so we’ve decided not to pay you that.”

This is a VERY big problem and a huge source of discord between the Chinese and foreign workers. Americans are expecting things by the book, but in China you need adaptability. On the other hand, the Chinese are promising more than they deliver and breaking promises. If you are considering working in an American-Chinese business or teaching atmosphere, I highly recommend you discuss this issue before signing contracts. Talk to the other side and verify how they view a contract — law or general guideline. Find a way to agree on what will be included and then keep the promises you do agree to.

#Business Vocabulary ~ #Economies of Scope and Scale

27 May

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in Business, Economics, and Finance classes. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.

Unlike Short-Term (短期) Planning, Long-Term (长期) operates on different goals (目标), strategies (战略), and analyses (分析).  


Two common goals are very important: Economies of Scale and Economies of Scope. Continue reading

Important #Business Symbols ~ Asian #Currencies

15 May

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in Business, Economics, and Finance classes. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.

Here are some helpful Business Symbols (标志) you should be familiar with for Business English! Although there are some more common than these, you should memorize these symbols because they are the currencies for Asia.


Bangladesh (孟加拉国) Taka (BDT)
Nu Bhutan (不丹) Ngultrum (BTN)
Cambodia (柬埔寨) Riel (KHR)
¥ China (中国) Yuan or Renminbi (CNY)
¥ Japan (日本) Yen (JPY)
India (印度) Rupee (INR)
Rp Indonesia (印度尼西亚) Rupiah (IDR)
Laos (老挝) Kip (LAK)
RM Malaysia (马来西亚) Ringgit (RM)
Rf Maldives (马尔代夫) Rufiyaa (MVR)
Mongolia (蒙古) Tögrög (MNT)
K Myanmar (缅甸) Kyat (BMK)
रू Nepal (尼泊尔) Rupee (NPR)
Philippines (菲律宾) Peso (PHP)
Russia (俄国) Ruble (RUB)
South Korea (韩国) Won (KRW)
 රු Sri Lanka (斯里兰卡) Rupee (LKR)
NT$ Taiwan (台湾) New Dollar (TWD)
฿ Thailand (泰国) Baht (THB)
Vietnam (越南) Dong (VND)

Managerial #Economics ~ The Five #Market Structures

8 May

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in Business, Economics, and Finance classes. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.


Image result for Street market

market (市场) is a situation where two or more groups of people come together to trade resources (资源) as part of business.  You can be trading money, goods, services – it doesn’t matter. Some examples would be:

  • The Mall (购物中心)
  • The Stock Exchange (股票交易)
  • Online Market (Taobao,
  • Supermarket (Carrefour, Walmart) – 沃尔玛购物广场
  • Street Food Market (街头食品)


There are many reasons why we have markets!

First of all, think about the Buyer (买方).  For them, maybe it is easier to buy all their things in one place. For example, isn’t it better to buy all your food, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies at the same store? It is faster, saves you bus money, and is less trouble

Now think about the company. Why would an economist (经济学家) or finance officer or CEO think this is a really good idea? Remember, as a finance person, you should obey the wealth maximization rule (最大化利润) of business. This rule says you should do your very best to legally (法律上) and ethically (道德) make the most profit (收益) for the owners.  So they join a market because it helps them make more MONEY!.  

How? Just like the buyer, the seller wants to decrease costs (降低成本).  Things like time, labor, work — they all cost the company a lot of money.  If you can sell your product using less time or employees or effort, it saves you money!  In a market, a lot more buyers come to shop than at other places. Maybe they want to find you, or maybe they wanted something else. For example, they came to the store to buy water but then saw you and also buy your pencils! Amazing! You did not have to pay for advertising, but you still got a surprise customer!

Some markets just save you time and money from advertising (like malls).  You get a lot of customers without having to go find them.  Others, like Taobao, create a place where it is easier to shop and pay and work together, so customers like it more and buy more products. There are a lot of good things about markets. 

Industry Market

An industry (行业) is a special kind of market.  This is not a building or place.  It is used to name all the people buying and selling a specific product.  For example, there is the Phone Market (all the people buying and selling phones). This market includes Huawei, Samsung, Apple, Oppo, Xiaomi, Meizu, and more. It also includes all the people who want to buy a phone (young people, older people, Chinese people, American people, etc).

There is also the Car Market 汽车行业 (all the people buying and selling phones). The Job Market 人才市场 (all the people looking for a job and offering a job).  The Fashion 时尚  Industry (all the people buying and selling clothes and fashion). 

These markets can be big or small, with lots of companies or just one company, with lots of buyers or just one buyer.  They are international with buyers and sellers all over the world who meet each other and do business. 

The Five Ways an Industry Market can be Structured (市场结构)

Market Structure (市场结构) is how an industry market is organized or arranged.  There are actually FIVE different ways a market can be structured, so you must be careful about which one is for your product. 

Why are they different? Maybe the number of companies is different. For example, there area lot of companies who sell pencils, but only a few companies who sell electricity (电力) for your house.  Maybe there are many companies, but only ONE company is actually really big (Size).  For example, for a long time only Microsoft Windows was available for computers.  Some products are very special (独特) and there is no substitute (替代).  (Kind of Product). 

Here is the list of Market Structures:

1) Monopoly (垄断)

In a Monopoly, one company is the only real company and has lots of power.  Usually, in this situation there is only ONE company in the whole market.  Their product is VERY SPECIAL so there are no substitutes (替代) available. Maybe their product is really difficult to copy, or maybe the government made a law (法) that no one can sell a product like them. For some reason, there is no competition. 

These companies are called PRICE-SETTING (价格制定者 | 决定价格) companies because it is easy for them to change their price and still keep their customers. If they want to raise the price $100, great! There is no competition, so the customers still have to buy the product from them. Even if the cost is very expensive!

One example in the US is Gilead, a medicine (医学) company.  In 2016, the US government approved (合法) their new medicine for all people who have Hepatitis C (丙型肝炎) – a very dangerous disease. Gilead was the only company who had so much approval from the US government. It looked awesome!  So many people with the disease want to use this cure. But Gilead was the only company. . . MONOPOLY! So the price was $74,760 (¥51,6083)! That’s a lot of money! (Source)

A monopoly does not always mean there is only one company.  Sometimes there are a few other companies. But only one of them is big, famous, and sells the product. The rest cannot compete with that big company.  So the big company has a lot of power no one else has. 

2) Oligopoly (寡头垄断)

Image result for china eastern

In an Oligopoly, there are a small number of businesses. More than one, but still not a lot of companies.  Usually their products are very similar, so they must compete a lot. If one company has a higher price, maybe the customer will just go to someone else.   These companies are called PRICE-TAKERS 价格的接受者 (this means that if they change the price even a little from the average, maybe the customers will go to someone else. So it is very difficult to change the price.)

For example, airplane companies. In China, there is China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Air China, Shanghai Airlines, etc.  Although there is more than one company, in the whole country there are actually not a lot of companies.  And if you want to fly from Wuhan to Shanghai, maybe their services are very similar.  So if you see that one company’s price is ¥1080 and another company is ¥1380 then you want to buy the ¥1080 ticket.  They can change their prices a little if their service is more special (for example, their time is faster). But usually their prices are very similar. 

3) Monopsony (买方垄断)

The Monopsony market is not very common. 

In this market, there are a many sellers, but only a few people who want to buy.  Today, we see this in the job market. Think about it. Right now, there are a lot of people who want to sell their labor — they want to work for a company and make a good salary.  But there are only a few company’s who want to buy your work.   So there are a lot of “work sellers” (employees), but only a few buyers (companies). 

Another example is people selling Old Televisions or Computers.  In this situation, maybe a lot of people want to sell, but only a few people want to buy.  So the buyer has the power and can decide what the price should be. 

In this situation, the companies have a lot of power and are PRICE-SETTING.  It is difficult for most employees to decide their salary, the company will choose your salary (the price for work). 

4) Monopolistic Competition (垄断性竞争)

Image result for ten miles of peach blossoms

There are many companies in this market, and their products are similarbut different.  Think about Movie or Music companies.  For example, the two TV shows “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” (三生三世十里桃花) and “The Journey of Flower” (花千骨).   These shows were a little similar. They are fantasy (幻想) shows with magic, romantic stories about cold men who fall in love with brave women, etc.  The shows are similar, but they are also different.  So maybe you like one show, but you did not want to see the other show. 

For Western readers, compare Vampire Diaries and True Blood.  Both TV Shows were directed towards young viewers and focused on Vampires. They had very similar audiences and competed for the viewers attention. But at the same time, they were very different so some people who liked True Blood maybe didn’t like Vampire Diaries and vice versa. Or maybe one was at a better time or something.  

In this situation, the companies are competitors, but not always substitutes.   So they are both PRICE-SETTING and PRICE-TAKING companies.  They are Price-Taking, because if they are too expensive compared to the rest, people who go to a different company even if the product is not as good.  But they are also Price-Setting because they can raise their price a little high without being too expensive.  For example, maybe a popular singer like Jay Chou or Taylor Swift can make their CDs more expensive than singers who are not popular. 

Let’s say most CDs are selling for $15.  Then you probably cannot sell your CD for $40.  People will be unhappy with your company and choose to leave. But you might be able to sell it for $22 if your music is better than normal. 

5) Perfect Competition (完全竞争)

The biggest markets are the Perfect Competition Markets.  These are markets where:

  1. There are MANY sellers.  
  2. The products are pretty similar or “non-differentiated.”
  3. Companies are Price-Takers

Image result for bottled water

Think about the water (水) market.  Here in China, there are many, many, many different companies selling bottled water. For example, Nongfu (农夫山泉)  and Evian (依云).  Although the companies are different, the water is pretty much the same. You don’t care if you drink water from one company or water from another company – they are all the same. So why do so many students at my university drink Nongfu instead of Evian? Because Nongfu water is only 2¥, but Evian is often 10¥ or more.  What if Nonfu changed their price to 4¥? Would you still buy their water? Maybe no! Because there are other companies (竞争者) who sell the same water for less money!  So maybe it is very difficult for Nongfu to change their prices.  They do not have a lot of “price power,” so we call them a ‘Price-Taking’ company. This kind of situation is called competitive market.

Image result for nongfu


  • Market (市场)
  • Industry (行业)
  • Market Structure (市场结构)
  • Substitute (替代)
  • Monopoly (垄断)
  • PRICE-SETTING (价格制定者 or 决定价格)
  • PRICE-TAKERS 价格的接受者
  • Oligopoly (寡头垄断)
  • Monopsony (买方垄断)
  • Monopolistic Competition (垄断性竞争)
  • Perfect Competition (完全竞争)

Understanding the #IncomeStatement

5 Apr

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in a Managerial Economics and International Finance class. Posted here for their use or for helping other students.

There are 3 main Financial Documents you should be familiar with. Each paper is typically published once a year, so we say they are annual reports (年波).  

**Please notice that all three documents only count and discuss EXPLICIT COSTS (明确的成本).  These documents are working with numbers and math, so the Explicit Costs includes only the money paid out to market-suppliers. It does not include any of the Implicit Costs like time and effort that the owner loses.  Therefore, the profits we see are only ACCOUNTING PROFITS (会计利润).  You can find a more detailed explanation of Costs and Profits here.

The Income Statement (损益表)~ Tells the reader very specifically (with a lot of detail):

  • How much REVENUE (收入) they earned and where it came from,
    • Revenue = Income, Sales, Yield, Gains
  • How much COST (成本) they had and what the money was spent on,
    • Cost = Expenses, Loss
  • How much PROFIT (收益) was left at the end and what of that the owners will be paid.
    • Profit = Returns, Sales, Yield, Income

EXAMPLE OF AN INCOME STATEMENT:Target Corporation Income Statement-page-001


Continue reading

Dance-Off Party

12 Dec

These are my amazing students! As part of our Business Negotiations class, I asked them to prepare a group dance. They had to work together and we voted on who had the best dance. There were some GREAT ideas here, and I was really proud of them. Make sure you watch the last dance!


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