--- Die großzügige Missachtung des "geistigen Eigentums" ist für den Kolumnisten Michael Schrage ein Grund für die Innovationskraft Chinas: China’s burgeoning “gray market”—unauthorized production runs and off-the-books sales of otherwise legitimate quality goods—enjoys seemingly irrepressible growth. But perversely, its cavalier regard for intellectual property is precisely why the world’s most populous nation is destined to become a global innovation juggernaut. This overwhelmingly copycat culture is rapidly developing an infrastructure for innovation that stealthily but sturdily complements its evolving world-class manufacturing infrastructure. ... More than any other country in the world, China is about the diffusion of improvements in production processes rather than improvements in end-user technology. Chinese industrialists—and postindustrialists—are on a long march to turn low-cost manufacturing capacity into faster-growth innovation capability. This doesn’t mean cutting-edge Chinese companies will mimic Western industrial history and adopt billion-dollar R&D budgets; after all, neither does Dell. Breakthrough inventions may require expensive research, but innovations that make products cheaper and easier to sell anywhere in the world do not. By tapping into the educated but underemployed work force in China’s countryside, for example, leading domestic cell-phone manufacturer Ningbo Bird builds nearly as many handsets in China as foreign competitors like Nokia and Motorola—and at lower cost.


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