No.1 Imitation Culture of China
No.1 Imitation Culture of China
  • Reporter Lee Ji-a
  • 승인 2015.02.13 15:14
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In the world, there are many tourist spots people should see before they die. These spots are spread all over the world, so seeing them all would require an enormous amount of money. But in China, people can see lots of them with no need to go to many countries. China has a London Bridge, Stone Henge, Eiffel Tower, and even the great Sphinx. Besides, from products such as smartphones and cars to characters in Korean dramas, there are extensive imitations available in China. The Postech Times interviewed Choi Eel Hyun, Professor of School of Economics and Finance in Young Nam University, to know the effects of the imitation culture and the reason why imitation can be successful.

Q. What is the effect of Imitation Culture?
A city in Guangdong copied Hallstatt, which is listed as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage, without any permission. Hallstatt City was going to file a claim against the imitation city, but Chinese started going to Hallstatt to see the real one and Hallstatt City withdrew the charges. The two cities established cultural exchange. To construct new structures, new jobs were created and tourism income has increased. Then the city economic is revived. And they imitate other product without blueprint so they can improve and create their own technology through imitation. For example four years ago a Chinese automobile company, YEMA, caused controversy by participating in an international motor show with an imitation design. But now YEMA will show their own car with cooperation from companies in Korea and the UK. The CEO of YEMA said in interview with SBS special program, “Imitation is very natural. Why can’t we learn from each other through imitation?”

Q. Why does the Imitation  Culture Pervade in China?
Chinese culture places more importance on relationship than law. So they lack awareness about intellectual property rights and are generous to insiders. Also they regard the imitation products as just substitutes. The government of China has said since 1990 that they will strengthen intellectual property rights, but the imitation culture has contributed to raising the competiveness of local companies. Prof. Choi said “the government will give lax regulation to domestic companies when they have competition with foreign companies and strict regulation to competition between local companies. In addition, the law has not caught up with consumer trends. Imitation culture has settled down in areas hard to be ruled by law. And China has an enormous market that is growing very sharply. In countries with a smaller market for imitations, mass production is hard. But in China companies can achieve great success with just imitations.
Q. What is the future of the Imitation Culture?
In 2014, Xiaomi, a smartphone company, occupied more share in China than Samsung. Xiaomi tried to expand their business overseas but royalty laws caught up with Xiaomi. In India, Ericddon, a Swedish company asserted that Xiaomi stole their technology and now sale and inport of Xiaomi are prohibited  by Feb. 5 in India. As mentioned, Chinese companies lack domestic technology, so it is difficult for them to export products. But the Chinese market is expected to surpass the American market in Purchasing Power Parity, so Chinese companies are expected to become the top in the world even if they only focus on their internal markets.