πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China: Inventing Innovation | 101 East



ancient China was a pioneer in technology giving the world the printing press the compass and gunpowder today there's a move to bring back the country's age of invention by cultivating hundreds of visionaries like Apple Steve Jobs while Beijing calls it boosting homegrown science critics call it blatant technology theft Oh pal xia ibrahim this week 101 east investigates china's strategy at reinventing innovation it's a special day at the shipyard for inventor zhang muyi he's taking his newest vessel for a test dive the descent to the bottom of a four-and-a-half meter pool goes according to plan and the city of Wuhan in central China celebrates its celebrity Submariner the event has drawn media from across China Jang hopes the publicity will translate into purchases for his underwater craft which can dive to 30 meters for as long as 10 hours the sub costs about 30 thousand US dollars and he's received three orders so far motele woman they used to collect seafood like sea cucumbers trumpet shells and other shells fishermen can use it to clean reservoirs they can also use it to gather minerals in the sea almost every fisherman can use it in their work Jang is not your typical Chinese entrepreneur he's a laid-off textile factory worker with no formal science education who until recently was driving tricycle taxis he believes what he lacks in technical training he makes up with vision so whatsoever in kind I can visualize how to make a product become a best-seller in the world and make competitors go out of business I can be really creative when I see the future of a business I can also break a product beyond its limitations and apply it to other fields other than its original use father I find that this is what I'm really good at Zhang's first attempt at building a submarine had limited success his only prototype was later stolen now he scaled up he borrowed and invested more than 500,000 u.s. dollars for his new venture and plans to build a manufacturing plant but John's ambitions don't end here don't whether whichever idea I'd also try to make an underwater car or I can make some computer programs and send signals to my phone so that I can operate the submarine remotely I mean there are other things like these that haven't even been invented yet and by altering the applications properly you can win in the market Otago John's talents highlight one of China's strongest innovative streaks applying concepts and products to a creative and often uniquely Chinese context while some questioned why China hasn't created a product revolution like Apple or Google others say the country shows unrivaled imagination in so-called second generation innovation making incremental improvements to products and adapting them to the Chinese market we have a lot of very successful entrepreneurs and some of them are very innovative I don't think in China there is no Steve Jobs or no beauties it's just there are different types of entrepreneurships doing different things at different stages of development you China has modernized on an unprecedented scale it's done it largely with the help of other countries technologies but as the export driven engine of China's economy begins to slow the nation is shifting its goals from serving as the world's factory to becoming pioneers in global innovation the Chinese government has launched an ambitious agenda to upgrade its high-tech know-how it's calling for Chinese firms to master core technologies in hundreds of areas from batteries to moon probes and to become leaders in emerging industries including next generation IT new energy and biotechnology China wants to reduce its degree of dependence on foreign science to 30 percent or less by the end of the decade but this effort has alarmed some trading partners who view it as a blueprint for technological larceny they want to get from a position of relatively low level of superb capacity where they are now to a very high level and they want to do it within ten years no country has ever done that and there's no way you can get from where they are now to technological sophistication in ten years without taking technology from other companies other places other countries you just can't do it on your own China's innovation plan is heavily invested in state enterprise research parks and universities with a goal of making China a dominant power in science by the middle of the century but some question whether this kind of top-down approach is what leads to innovation this is not an engineering construction phase this is a creation phase and it's scientists and that's different and they can't you just won't get it by throwing resources and money and we are getting added by throwing resources and money at it is incredible corruption China's attempt to put one industry in the fast lane shows the challenge of its undertaking China has the largest automobile market in the world with more than 18 million units sold last year now the country wants to become the world leader in producing clean energy cars it's investing one-and-a-half billion US dollars a year to put 5 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020 offering a mix of subsidies and tax breaks to boost sales of domestically made cars automakers otai benefits from subsidies from both the local and national levels amounting to about fifteen thousand US dollars per car this has helped cut the price tags of its electric SUVs which the company also plans to export to Europe and the United States so ties cars are also playing a starring role in a pilot project in the company's home base the eastern city of Hangzhou with its famous West Lake is one of China's top tourist destinations since early last year so ties distinctive he taxi has been carrying passengers around the scenic city young young mean has been at the wheel of this taxi since the project began he says he has little trouble finding a passenger yo this little woman tickets the pins in Shambala the taxi is really in high demand in hangzhou especially near those tourist spots people's eyes open wide when they see it they hurry for it every time they see an electric taxi Young's cab is one of about 180 e tax ease and service here the cars feature interchangeable batteries which can be swapped or recharged at one of 20 charging stations in the city probably the D vomit Rogers the only inconvenience is that the car battery needs charging after 80 kilometres driving distance the charging procedure won't take too much time but will influence the taxi business slightly the e taxi program and public confidence in electric cars suffered a setback in April of last year when an engine in one of the taxis caught fire no one was seriously hurt but the entire fleet was taken off the streets for two months an investigation found that problems with installing the battery pack were to blame Zota insists the design and production of its battery packs are safe the company claims it has developed an innovative power distribution system that keeps voltage consistent without overheating to attend lesser Hallahan according to the market research comparatively speaking this product is very advanced in our industry we can say there is no alternative horizontal and the company prides itself on its sophisticated surveillance system which tracks all of its electric vehicles in China each car has a GPS transponder which transmits details back to so ties monitoring facility including location speed and battery levels gosh it'll look cool so all the data is collected in the information desk and we can monitor it when the speed of a vehicle exceeds this limit this is unsafe so we can inform the driver not to do that and interlocked sales however have been disappointing only 8000 electric cars from all brands were sold in China last year almost all of them to government fleets even with subsidies the electric vehicles still cost more than their gas-powered rivals in face of the lackluster returns the government has backpedaled slightly and now allows hybrids to be counted in clean energy vehicle quotas China and cheetah Tata for now just like other industries the development of new energy vehicles is facing a lot of obstacles this is something that can be expected but I think no matter how many obstacles they are with the exhausting of global energy resources new energy vehicles actually a trend the electric car industry is a lightning rod for critics who accuse Beijing of using its market access to leverage foreign automakers as well as companies in many other fields to turn over their proprietary technology they used joint ventures as another way to siphon off technology from foreign companies they use that and then they take the technology and they build up the domestic Chinese firm and eventually just drive out the foreign firm completely the washington-based think tank the information technology and innovation foundation has issued a report accusing China of using its innovation policy to give Chinese companies absolute advantage in the world market China's goal is to basically be a high tech leader in almost every single industry using a whole array of practices that are just really unfair to gain advantage that hurt the global economy China feels relying on the West is a potential threat to its national and economic security and that it is entitled to build scientific self-sufficiency if I'm a company here in China and the majority were the key competitiveness of my products realized on say your technology then we enter in negotiation it's hard for me to get a good position I think that's part part in any kind of the reason in my mind behind the government's kind of which for firms cute develops its own products and service so that it becomes competitive but China's call for its firms to assimilate absorb and Riaan evade foreign technology has created a divide with outside companies but they basically have changed the attitude of the world's tech community they do not trust China anymore and that's unfortunate because you know there's just a lot of good technologists here who our world-class and should be connected to the world the petri dish for the next wave of technologists China's universities are realizing that to foster inventiveness they need to rethink traditional teaching methods some programs are taking an innovative approach to cultivating creativity getting students out of the classroom mindset and into real-world competition teaming college at Khwaja University of Science and Technology in Wuhan hopes to foster the next generation of creative genius it's one of China's top scientific institutions a select group of students is getting the chance to hone their skills for the marketplace electronic engineering student Chen Hao is one of them Hezekiah is and guys I think education in China pays too much emphasis on theory 90% of a student's time is spent on memorizing knowledge in books and the student only spends a little time applying the knowledge to practice Chen is a member of one of the most elite innovation teams in Chi Minh college called the N the group specialty is partnering students with enterprises to complete business projects one of Chen's projects a computer game called fish circle has become a commercial success he hopes to use the profits to build an enterprise to develop games for mobile phones for young musicians Ouya there were many things that I hadn't been exposed to before doing the project I needed to study it find out what I should learn in order to successfully complete it and then learn these things as a result my ability to acquire resources has improved considerably because the problems I need to solve are real life rather than simulated getting into DN is less about academic prowess than innovative potential applicants are judged not only on their exam scores but also their extracurricular activities and communication skills finally they must endure a 12 hour all-night test where the candidate must solve a complex problem such as debugging software or building a working computer circuit was you not a Porsche for what we've attracted are not those students with the highest scores but those were the strongest initiative and proactive spirit and the most passionate students some of them may have failed some courses some tend to go overboard in one or more subjects while doing badly in others some may even be the last in their class but these students are all considered valuable talents in EN graduate student Huang G dong has followed a different path to success he arrived before teaming was established and together with fellow classmates set up an enterprise without support from the school touches and in bonds with Allison I believe the best help is when there is no help at all because when you don't get any help you have to solve problems all by yourself and that's the time you grow up and become stronger his new endeavor is called Y bola a platform that helps job hunters find employment by mining social networks and identifying connections to job opportunities they might not otherwise know exists compared to the conventional way of finding jobs through interpersonal relationships it has a higher success rate and is more efficient according to statistics so we believe that this product is quite valuable for job seekers Wong also hopes to explore new ground in virtual reality equipped with a Microsoft Kinect sensor he is researching interaction with virtual environments he's developing software that tracks motion and a program that makes a subject invisible almost but Huang says getting funds to translate inventive ideas into products is a major challenge that Somoza for me anyway thanks Annette in China although the capital market is much more active than before finding investment for a project in its early stages is a lot of trouble an investment firm founded by former Google China Chairman Kai Fuli is trying to change that the company innovation works brings a Silicon Valley mindset to China it seeks to incubate internet e-commerce and cloud computing startups providing funding and guidance to get them off the ground now women digger told hundreds I kidding when we evaluate a team we check whether their product is new in mainland China how innovate if they have no new part and help them to become leading enterprises in the industry we originated innovation works is betting the mobile internet sector will grow exponentially in the coming years providing a ripe ecosystem for China's technology growth for sure it has tremendous potential but the you know the most important thing is that the market has just mind-blowing numbers 500 million Internet users 300 million mobile Internet users 900 million mobile subscribers and this is just a you know still a minority of the overall market potential that exists out there in this vast arena developers are forced to find original ways to profit or die the Chinese gaming companies have explored every potential avenue of monetizing and I think the vast majority of of the Western counterparts including companies like Zynga for example in Facebook and so on are actually learning from from the Chinese companies in this respect in a mobile internet market with more than 1.7 billion US dollars competition for a big catch is fierce after its release last year the game fishing joy became a top seller on China's iTunes & Android stores the games developer beijing-based choo kong technologies took it from demo to download in less than three months Zhu Kong CEO Chen Hao Joe never went to university he feels China's education system restricts innovation by teaching young people to stay within tightly controlled limits not shoot unless out for those of us who don't have much educational time we want to find our own space and interests you will be able to do many things if you feel like there are no obstacles it is perhaps fitting that chen leads a major player in china's mobile game market which he calls an even playing field for creativity you don't well the biggest difference between mobile Internet and the Internet is the Chinese people for the very first time can compete with developers worldwide Hydra mobile Internet allows an engineer woman a designer or an art designer to compete with developers worldwide in a fair manner this was unimaginable before with a new round of capital from a Disney investment arm choo Kong is developing a new crop of games including some in 3d but the same market that has made choo Kong a success provides a haven for digital piracy an estimated 40% of games on Android phones in China are copycats as our 20% on iOS platforms some of them near copies of phishing joy or Wilma Shanti sure we are lucky because we had support from venture capital when we started out so we have some capacity to resist risks and we had our strong marketing and conflict as a result those copycat companies didn't have a market as big as ours and they lagged behind us in upgrading the versions so we still remain the biggest all I can say is that we are lucky because 90% would be dead due to this phenomenon copyright infringement costs Chinese and foreign companies untold billions in revenue and is one of the most contentious trade issues in China illegal copies of DVDs software and bags and mobile phones are everywhere but what the West calls piracy in China is a cultural phenomenon known as Shan Zhai it's not always seen as a bad thing with cheap knockoffs making affordable some products or services that would otherwise be priced out of reach and some Chinese copycats show originality in making their forgeries their very inventive you know phones are a commodity now right there and assembled from parts made by over there cut like a jigsaw puzzle people make them differently and China's put those jigsaw puzzles together with with chips and components and pieces of software and not paid a lot of royalties on this stuff and made some pretty damn good phones some say Shan Zhai is only a passing phase or what is it I believe sun-sized the inevitable process from beginning to success many successful cases start from imitating others it was not only at first we copied the ideas and business models of other companies to make profit but over the long terms something creative and independent and the finally merge if imitation is the seed of innovation then a bumper crop has been planted here in the village of Dolphin near the border with Hong Kong this place produces more paintings than anywhere else in the world chances are for anyone who's ever ordered a Rembrandt Picasso or da Vinci it was painted here dolfin claims to be the source of 60% of the world's oil paintings thousands of artists churn out millions of replicas a year van gogh Botero Dali any masterpieces copied here visitors can even bring a photograph of a favorite landscape and have an artist converted to a canvas Jenny Thao has made his share of reproductions but now he is pursuing his own style he feels those who only paint copies are wasting their talent you'll cut unless you own hella perhaps somewhere in the future we'll take a fancy to my painting and be willing to pay a higher price for the world but if you only paint commercially you will never see such possibility because you draw works of others you're always in the process of copying and cleaning and there's no creativity the problem is copies of masterpieces make money original art is harder to sell most artists and often say they would like to do their own work but it doesn't pay times of Angola veneer and delays order higher in Van Gogh time nobody wanted his paintings we face the same situation now nobody wants our heart but we should try to stay on our path perhaps 20 to 30 years from now or a hundred years from now we could become someone like Van Gogh it's quite possible for that to happen that is a dream shared by the Chinese state as it drives for innovation that one day in the future the products and technologies in most demand will not be copied in China but conceived in China

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