From the official website:
Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow - and the Olympic Flame.
Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name - a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together - Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni - they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.
Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature - the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky - all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.