Counterfeit Brit in the Copycat Capital
It is certainly an uphill struggle throughout China to change a mindset that to some extent just doesn't get the issue with IP. A while ago an article on the BBC (which I can't link to because the BBC is blocked in China) told the story of the craze for amateur pop stars to record their own song in China and put it up online for everyone to hear. One particularly successful young starlet won a record deal from her performance and sold 200,000 CDs. But this was small fry compared to the 3 million odd copies that were downloaded online! Instead of being outraged or feeling hard done by, her agent described this as overwhelmingly positive ' simply showing how popular she was and helping swing the most lucrative Chinese TV deals. And after all, what's the harm of a few dodgy DVDs when the factories provide livelihood and security for so many thousands of people?
Well, for the Multinational Companies looking to invest in R&D in China, the IP issue is primordial. Guangzhou companies like the pharmaceutical giant we met today are desperate to attract foreign investment. 'We need your technology, we need to develop' seems to be a common opening line from industry here. But to play the game of global science to win, China will have to learn to play by the IP rules, won't it?
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