(K. Brent Tomer),
Paper Tigers, Hidden Dragons: Firms and the Political Economy of China’s Technological Development. By Douglas Fuller. OUP; 304 pages; $95 and £55.
China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation. By George Yip and Bruce McKern. MIT Press; 290 pages; $29.95 and £19.95.
“THE Master said, ‘I transmit rather than innovate. I trust in and love the ancient ways’.” Those words from Confucius seem to offer a cultural explanation for why China is an innovation laggard. Many Chinese companies seem to be copycats, unable or unwilling to come up with world-beating ideas, products and services of their own. The Chinese legal system also looks rigged against foreign inventors. A cultural deference to authority and an educational system that emphasises rote-learning complete the stereotype.
It is true that markets in Chinese cities offer knock-off Gucci handbags, Peppa Pig toys and Apple gizmos. Jack Ma, boss of Alibaba, an e-commerce giant accused of tolerating counterfeits on its websites, sparked an outcry in June by claiming: “Fake products today are of better…Continue reading