Michael Jordan Wins Trademark Dispute In China

Slam Dunk: Michael Jordan Wins Trademark Dispute In China

China’s top court has handed basketball legend Michael Jordan a victory in a long-running trademark dispute over the use of his name by a Chinese company.

“Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today’s decision shows the importance of that principle,” Jordan said in a statement after the ruling. Here’s more from Jordan:

“Over the past three decades, I have built my reputation and name into a globally recognized brand. From my earliest playing days in the NBA, through my trip to China last fall, millions of Chinese fans and consumers have always known me by my Chinese name, ‘Qiaodan.’ Today’s decision ensures that my Chinese fans and all Chinese consumers know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me.”

The ruling by Supreme People’s Court overturns a previous ruling from a lower court that favored Qiaodan Sports Co., which makes sportswear and shoes and had registered the name as its trademark. The company has no relationship to the Nike Air Jordan brand.

Jordan is widely known as Qiaodan in China, and he initially filed a lawsuit against the company in 2012.

The court “approved Jordan’s appeal that the trademark of his name’s translation in Chinese characters infringed on his right to own his name and violated the country’s trademark law,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

This company is not subtle; according to Xinhua, it also used “Jordan’s old jersey number 23, basketball player logo and even names of his children.” As NPR’s Becky Sullivan has reported, the company does hundreds of millions of dollars of business annually, with some 6,000 locations in China.

After the ruling, Qiaodan “defended its actions but said it would respect the court’s decision,” The Associated Press reported.

The court’s chief judge Tao Kaiyuan “said there was an established link between Jordan and the Chinese characters for ‘Qiaodan,’ which are commonly used by the public when referring to the former basketball player, meaning that Jordan was entitled to protection under the Trademark Law,” according to the wire service.

However, it’s not a completely clear-cut victory: Xinhua added that court also “ruled that the former Chicago Bulls star does not own the right of name for Qiaodan, Chinese pinyin transcription of his surname Jordan.”

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Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China’s Movies Are a Hit With Investors

China takes on the world with new Matt Damon film

The Great Wall: China takes on the world with new Matt Damon film

Despite a long tradition of movie-making, and much critical acclaim for its directors overseas, China has never yet produced a truly global blockbuster.

But this is being billed as the moment when Chinese film finally takes on the world.

The Great Wall is one of the most lavish and expensive films ever shot in China.

Directed by the living-great of Chinese cinema, Zhang Yimou, it makes use of vast theatrical sets, elaborate costumes as well as great Chinese cultural icons like, er, Matt Damon.

Matt Damon?

The US superstar’s leading role in the swashbuckling Chinese showcase has already been the subject of much controversy.

“Well, ‘whitewashing’ you’ve got to define,” he tells me.

“Whitewashing for me was always like Chuck Connors playing Geronimo, so I don’t know if that would even be the right term to accuse us of.”

‘We never consider race first’

The accusation that a Caucasian male star has somehow been shoehorned into the piece to give the film a more direct appeal to American and European audiences is something that also rankles with Zhang Yimou.

“Matt Damon plays a foreign mercenary who comes to China to steal gun powder,” Mr Zhang tells me.

“Of course he is a foreigner. For the director, we never consider the race question first. We always think about the story first. If the story flows, if the story is good.”

Mr Damon joins the massed ranks of the Chinese army on top of perhaps the greatest cultural icon of them all, the Great Wall, built not to keep out men, according to the fantastical plot, but monsters.

The budget of at least $100m (£80m) underwrites a US-China collaboration of a kind that is becoming increasingly common nowadays.

And such collaborations align neatly with one of the political priorities of the Chinese government: to expand its international cultural influence.

Rivalling Hollywood’s soft power

As Hollywood comes to China in desperate search of new, lucrative audiences, China is desperate to harness something of the elusive magic.

If it can build its own film industry, the argument goes, it can use it to develop its so-called “soft power”, in the same way US movies have carried American values and norms around the world for a century or more.

And that appears, on some level at least, to be what The Great Wall is trying to do.

It can appeal to Chinese and international audiences alike, hence the internationalised plot line, allowing the incorporation of a Hollywood star.

And it carries a central message about time-honoured Chinese ingenuity (the gunpowder), as well as lasting cultural power (the Great Wall).

Matt Damon though is having none of it.

“No, I didn’t for a second think this film was a propaganda tool,” he says.

“I think our world is a much better place when we’re talking to each other and collaborating and making art together.”

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Movies, China, Mark Schlarbaum

How China is changing Hollywood

The US will not have the biggest box office for much longer.

The growth of China’s middle class has created a massive new market for the entertainment industry. China has built an average of 27 new cinema screens per day this year and surpassed the US with 40,475 screens total. Not only that, but in 2017 China’s box office revenue will likely surpass that of the US, making China the largest movie market in the world.

Obviously, moviemakers in Hollywood want to reach those customers. The problem is the Chinese government only allows a certain number of foreign films into the country each year, and censorship laws make it difficult for Hollywood to make films that appeal to both US and Chinese moviegoers at the same time.

From product placement and casting famous Chinese entertainers in supporting roles to altering filming locations and storylines, Hollywood has done a lot over the past 20 years to gain entry into China’s ever-growing moviegoing market.

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Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

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Lego opens its first toy brick plant in China

Lego is opening its first factory in China.

The Danish toymaker opened the doors to fifth factory in the world, and first in Asia, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on Nov. 25. Lego first announced plans to set up the Jiaxing factory, geared toward production for the Asian market, in March 2013. The 40 acre-factory now employs more than 1,200 people and is expected to manufacture nearly 80% of the company’s products sold in the booming Asia market.

“We have built a state of the art factory in Jiaxing that adheres to the same global production standards as our factories across the world,” chief executive officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said in a statement. The company also owns and operates factories in the brand’s home country Denmark as well as Hungary, Mexico and the Czech Republic. The investment for the Chinese factory amounts to a “3-digit million Euro figure,” the company said.

Located in the city dubbed “National Model City for Greening,” the latest factory marks a win for the environment too. The company has installed 20,000 solar panels on the roofs. The technology is expected to generate almost 6 gigawatts of clean energy annually, and reduce CO2 emissions in Jiaxing by more than 4,000 tonnes per year, according to the company’s estimates.

China has been a hotbed for Lego’s growth in recent years: Revenue in the country climbed up 40% in 2015, double the company’s global average. In May this year, Lego set up its largest retail store in Shanghai—the country’s commerce and finance hub is only around 100 kilometers from Jiaxing, making the distribution of products easier.

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Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

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China’s getting into solar in a big way

If Trump makes good on his rants against wind and solar, it will be countries like China and India that muscle in, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in November.

And Australia? Australia can sell the 21st century world powers the technology to get them to a greener future.

SEE ALSO: Tesla is powering an entire island with solar energy, NBD

On Tuesday, Australia’s peak science body announced it would be selling solar heliostat technology to China as part of a major new deal.

Working with the Chinese company Thermal Focus, CSIRO’s technology will be used for concentrating solar thermal (CST) electricity generation.

The CSIRO’s heliostat system uses small mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy and help store energy at low cost.

“In a commercial field, we have thousands of heliostats or mirrors that move across the day and keep the sun focused onto one point on a receiver tower,” Wes Stein, CSIRO’s chief solar energy research scientist, told Mashable.

The resulting high temperatures can then be used to melt and store molten salt in large tanks. The salt’s steam can move a turbine for electricity generation, “whether it’s cloudy, night time, it doesn’t really matter.”

Stein said their technology helps tackle the “critical” issue of green power storage. “As our electricity system moves to renewables, and with the retirement of coal-fired [power] stations, we’re going to need solar energy that’s got storage,” he said.

Thermal Focus will commercialise CSIRO’s heliostat design and the software that controls its positioning.

“CSIRO’s solar thermal technology combined with our manufacturing capability will help expedite and deliver solar thermal as an important source of renewable energy in China,” Wei Zhu from Thermal Focus said in a statement.

While still a heavy user of coal, China has been turning away from the fossil fuel in recent years and upping its clean energy investments.

A September report from CoalSwarm found that there had been a 14 percent drop in the total amount of coal-fired power capacity in early planning stages globally in 2016, of which China accounted for about three-fourths of canceled capacity.

In other words, it’s a bad time to be in the coal business (hear that, Australian government and Adani?)

Stein said China recognises renewable energy storage will become critical.

“Everyone’s installing wind, installing photovoltaics — that’s great. But because they are variable you can’t control when they generate, you need the storage as well, and China’s exactly the same,” he said.

“When they start something, they usually go pretty big pretty quickly.”

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Movies, China, Mark Schlarbaum

There’ll soon be more movie theaters in China than in the US

The number of movie theaters in China will soon take over the number in the U.S., taking the title of world’s largest movie market in terms of screen numbers.

At the end of September, China had 39,194 screens, compared with an estimated 40,475 in the U.S. China has been building new cinema screens at a rate of 27 screens a day this year.

At this rate, China is expected to overtake the U.S. by November 16, according to analysis by IHS Markit.

“The rate that China has been building cinema screens is very high,” said David Hancock, director of film and cinema analysis at IHS Technology, in a press release.

“In the first nine months of this year, China added just over 7,500 new cinema screens, continuing a trend seen over the past few years. China has been building cinema screens at a rate of over 10 a day for the past five years, rising to 27 a day this year.”

The growth of China’s movie business has been rapid. In 2003, China’s box office revenue totaled just $121 million. That year, China opened up the market to overseas exhibition groups and invested more heavily in the sector. By 2015, box office revenue had grown to more than $7 billion.

In terms of revenue, the Chinese market is still smaller than the U.S. According to consultancy PwC, the revenue will grow from $9.9 billion in 2016 to $11 billion in 2020.

However, IHS forecasts that China’s box office revenue will top the U.S. market by 2019.

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At 80 this model and ‘China’s hottest grandpa’

Longevity has a new role model.

Wang Deshun — an 80-year-old Chinese man who is walking down fashion runways showing off his toned body and youthful strut — is causing a stir in his country and beyond.

Not content to just look good as he ages, the artist, actor, athlete and model is also focused on keeping his brain fit, mind sharp and attitude fearless.

“One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?’” he told The New York Times.

“Nature determines age, but you determine your state of mind.”

The man dubbed “China’s hottest grandpa” became an actor when he was 24, but gained international attention when he became a model and walked a runway show at age 79. For his 80th birthday in September, he enjoyed techno music and has plans to go parachuting, the Times reported.

Keep learning and exercising

Wang stepped into his first gym at 50 and really got into working out at 70, he said in his video. He calls morning his learning time, when he reads books and news. He exercises in the afternoons, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m and swims daily.
Find a diet that works

Wang eats whatever he wants, but drinks less alcohol than he used to.

Have a goal

He believes it’s key to stay active and keep working rather than retreat to a sedentary retirement: “Being mentally healthy means you know what you’re going to do,” he said.
Try new things

Don’t be afraid to start over if you’re stuck in a routine that’s no longer appealing or authentic to you. In In Wang’s words: “People can change their life as many times as they wish.”

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China’s Movies Are a Hit With Investors

China Box Office: ‘Doctor Strange’ Nabs Promising $12.6M Friday

While the Thursday preview results won’t be in until later this morning, we’ve already got a glance at how well Doctor Strange is performing in China. The Walt Disney/Marvel film opened on Friday in said marketplace, which thanks to the time zone magic means we have opening day numbers right now. And the 14th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie began its run with a $12.6 million opening day, including $780,000 on Thursday-at-midnight previews.

While that’s nowhere near the $30 million earned by Captain America: Civil War or the $33m made on the opening day of Avengers: Age of Ultron (shocker, I know…), it compares favorably to the $11.9m opening day for Ant-Man. That smaller-scale Marvel offering debuted with $42.77m over its opening weekend in October 2015, leading to an eventual $105.37m total in China.

Also of note, Guardians of the Galaxy earned $30 million on its opening weekend in October 2014 for a final $96.4m cume. Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $38.8m on its opening weekend in April of 2014 for a $115.6m cume. Thor: The Dark World snagged a $20m debut weekend around this time in 2013 for a $55m total, giving it a 2.6x multiplier.

If we’re playing long range math based on the opening day, an admittedly dangerous game, we may be looking at a $45 million debut weekend and a final total of anywhere between $110m and $134m in China alone. The “danger” is that the last couple “big” Marvel movies, Age of Ultron ($155m opening weekend and a $240m total) and Civil War ($93.6m/$190.4m total), were a lot more frontloaded.

And since we’ve seen a deluge of uber-frontloaded Hollywood releases in China this year, that may be the pattern at play. No, I don’t necessarily think that Doctor Strange is going to be as frontloaded as the second Avengers movie. But if it plays like like the third Captain America, Iron Man 3 ($64 million debut weekend and a $121.2m cume) or (random example) or X-Men: Apocalypse ($59m/$120m), a guestimated $45m weekend gets the film to a still-solid $85-$92m cume.

Or it could leg it like DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 and pull a 3x multiplier. But, for the record, even Now You See Me 3 (which was specifically tailored to the Chinese marketplace) earned a whopping 2.18x multiplier ($44 million/$97m) back in June of this year. Of note, a run like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($25.5m/$58.8m) gets Doctor Strange, again presuming a $47m debut weekend, to a $108m total, which is darn good.

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Amazon Prime launches in China

Amazon announced today it’s bringing a version of its Prime membership program to customers in China, which will include free, cross-border shipping from the Amazon Global Store as well as no minimum free domestic shipping, the company says. The service, which will compete with local rivals like Alibaba and JD.com, will cost 388 yuan ($57.23) per year after the first year, a discounted rate.

Unlike the U.S. version of Prime, there aren’t a host of perks for Chinese customers outside of the shipping deals – instead, the main focus here is on increasing Amazon’s footprint in China by making it more affordable to buy foreign products from its site.

Amazon today doesn’t have a significant footprint in China – less than 1.5 percent of the market, according to iResearch. It even launched a store on Alibaba’s Tmall site last year in order to reach Chinese consumers.

Cross-border e-commerce is a growing trend in China, thanks to rising incomes and increased demand for foreign products. According to a McKinsey study from earlier this year, cross-border consumer e-commerce amounted to an estimated $40 billion (U.S.) in 2015, more than 6 percent of China’s total consumer e-commerce. The report also said it’s growing upwards of 50 percent annually.

Chinese Prime members will be able to shop over 4 million international products from the Amazon Global Store – a storefront the company launched in November 2014 to cater to an international audience. The localized store’s millions of products are organized across 30 product categories, including those that appeal to Chinese consumers like apparel, shoes, baby, toys, home, kitchen and beauty.

These international orders are delivered by Amazon fulfillment centers in the U.S. through its global logistics capabilities, says Amazon, and Prime members will receive those packages in an estimated 5-9 days in 82 cities.

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China Nuclear Power

China to overtake US nuclear capacity

The growth of China’s nuclear power industry will make it the world’s biggest in 15 years, the World Nuclear Association (WNA) said on Tuesday.

The country will overtake France to have the second-largest number of nuclear reactors by 2020, according to WNA director general Agneta Rising.

China’s push to develop nuclear energy comes from the need to improve air quality in its rapidly growing cities as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with international commitments. The country has one of the highest rates of air pollution related deaths in the world.

“For China, the air pollution is a major driver,” Rising was cited by Reuters.

The WNA report showed that in Asia 134 operable reactors generated 400 terawatt hours of electricity last year, making up 16 percent of global nuclear generation. There are firm plans to increase that figure, with 39 reactors comprising 47.4 gigawatts (GW) currently under construction in Asia. Twenty of those are to be built in China.

Beijing has set a goal to generate 58 GW of nuclear energy by 2020. A gigawatt of power provides enough energy for about 700,000 homes.

READ MORE: Red alert: Beijing partially bans traffic on heavy pollution days

By 2050, nuclear power generation in China is expected to exceed 350 GW, including about 400 new nuclear reactors at a cost of over a trillion dollars.

“There is history in the region, where you have high-skilled people with very good university education and they have been working on research reactors… so I think there is basis of knowledge,” Rising said. “The big driver (in Asia) is to have electricity for people.”

According to the report, there are plans for more than 50 reactors providing more than 50,000 MW in nine new countries in the region. Most of them plan to have their first nuclear reactors enter operation before 2030.

New reactor construction is mostly led by industrializing countries which have enjoyed high levels of economic growth with an accompanying increase in energy demand, the WNA said.

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Starbucks to Add Thousands of Stores in China

China will get a new Starbucks every day for 5 years

Even with China growing at its slowest pace in 25 years, Starbucks is planning to open more than one new store a day for the next five years in the world’s second largest economy.

“I think if you look at the 45 year history of our company … one of the things that we’ve done really well is that we’ve always played the long game,” Schultz told CNN in an interview in Shanghai on Wednesday.

By 2021, Starbucks (SBUX) aims to have nearly 5,000 stores across China.

Related: China’s economy holds steady — but for how long?

It’s been a long road already for the coffee giant in the world’s most populous nation, where it opened its first store 17 years ago.

“We had to educate and teach many Chinese about what coffee was — the coffee ritual, what a latte was,” Schultz said. “So in the early years, we did not make money.”

His critics on Wall Street and elsewhere said Starbucks “was never going to succeed in China,” he recalled.

But his patience paid off.

“If you look five years ago, most of our business, believe it or not, was expats and tourists in China,” he said. “Today, it’s mostly Chinese.”

Related: Hillary Clinton will win U.S. election, says Starbucks CEO

Schultz expects China to eventually overtake the U.S. as the company’s largest market, although he hasn’t said exactly when. (It’s already No. 2.)

“One of things I think we’ve done very well is we’ve invested significantly ahead of the growth curve — in people, in systems,” he told CNN. “We just finished a fantastic year in China where the results are as strong as they’ve ever been.”

Such talk is enviable for huge U.S. firms that have failed to get into China — like Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) — or been pushed out — like Uber and Google (GOOG).

Schultz says it helps that Starbucks is selling coffee, and not active in a more sensitive market.

“We’re not in a high tech business, so we’re not trying to change behavior in terms of technology,” he said.

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NBA to open NBA Academies in three cities in China

Training centers in Urumqi, Jinan and Hangzhou will be staffed with NBA-trained coaches

Fran Blinebury

Fran Blinebury NBA.com

BEIJING — NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the launch of NBA Academies, an international elite development initiative that will consist of a network of elite training centers around the world to develop top international male and female prospects.

The first three academies will open in the Chinese cities of Urumqi, Jinan and Hangzhou.

“Nothing is more important than to grow the game of basketball here in China,” Silver said. “We’re thankful for the terrific reception we’ve had in China. It’s very important that we give back as well. One of our means of giving back is to help develop elite players here. Elite players that can play in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association), elite players who can bring glory to their country through the national team and elite players who maybe can play in the National Basketball Association one day.”

Each elite training center will be staffed with NBA-trained coaches to foster the development of prospects on and off the court, both during and after their basketball careers. Each center will house under-16 and under-18 teams that will compete against top competition throughout the year.

“Want these players to have the opportunity to play against other elite players,” said Silver.  “What we know from our NBA experience that in order to develop the best players, in addition to the wonderful training they’re getting already here in China, they need to play against top-notch competition.  That’s what we’re going to do as an important measure to see more great Chinese players coming into the NBA.”

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HSBC warns that firms risk missing out on China’s infrastructure boom

More and more companies might be using the renminbi (yuan) to do business with China, but few are capitalizing on the government’s new infrastructure initiatives and are missing out on potential business opportunities, according to a new survey by HSBC.

Of the 1,600 senior executives across 14 countries asked by the bank’s commercial arm, 24 percent confirmed that their business was using the currency, up 7 percent on an equivalent survey last year.

While 41 percent of survey respondents were aware of the business opportunities presented by the Chinese government’s “belt and road” strategy, only 7 percent of these were implementing new means of capitalizing on the development.

“Belt and road” is the Chinese government’s coinage for the policy and infrastructure framework which it hopes will spur $2.5 trillion of international commerce per annum, a figure Chinese state news agency Xinhua attributes to President Xi Jinping in 2015. Introduced in 2013, “belt and road” is intended to develop two trade corridors between China and the rest of the world.

“Belt” refers to the historic overland Silk Road trading routes linking China to Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, “road” refers to the country’s maritime connections in its south with Africa, India and Southeast Asia. According to HSBC, the project will impact trade in 65 countries, home to nearly two thirds of the world’s population.

Of the firms aware of the strategy, HSBC’s survey revealed that those in Europe and North America are most likely to have first mover’s advantage. 12 percent of “aware” businesses in Europe are putting together strategies, whilst the equivalent figure for North America fell at 9 percent.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, the Asia-Pacific region outside of China saw just 6 percent of “aware” companies making plans. But Stuart Tait, HSBC’s regional head of commercial banking in Asia-Pacific, told CNBC via e-mail that “we see many projects initiated by ASEAN countries such as Thailand or Malaysia taking place.”

As “belt and road” progresses, HSBC asserted that the strategy is likely to encourage international renminbi usage. In order to track global perception of China’s trade and currency, the bank compared its 2016 survey with data collected under similar parameters last year. This revealed that number of companies employing the currency for international commerce had risen from 17 percent to 24 percent.

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Space Jam: China appoints basketball star as ambassador to Mars

Basketball star and internet celebrity Yao Ming has been appointed China’s ambassador to Mars. Ming won’t have to pack his bags though, instead carrying out his duties from Earth, as he promotes the country’s first mission to the Red Planet in 2020.

The 2.29 meter (7ft 6 in) tall sportsman will help to generate interest and support for China’s bid to send a rover to Mars to join NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft. Eleven ambassadors have been recruited by China, including science-fiction writer Liu Cixin and coach of the women’s Olympic volleyball team Lang Ping, reported the South China Morning Post.

Boyband TFBOYS are also enrolled as ambassadors. Here’s hoping they’re still considered boys by 2020.

Unfortunately, Yao Ming, who previously played in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, won’t get to shoot hoops with any aliens on Mars. China has no plans to put a man on the Red Planet, instead concentrating closer to home, with the aim of building a base on the moon. Whether this will include a basketball court isn’t known.

Yao Ming isn’t just a famous sportsman though, he’s also somewhat of an internet celebrity, with his famous laughing face now a popular online meme. His popularity and celebrity, both internationally and in China, should help boost positivity for the costly mission. In 2008, he led his country at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony and played in the tournament, despite initially ruling himself out due to injury.

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Can China become leader in innovation?

Can China become leader in innovation?

From factory to laboratory: can China become ‘leader not follower’ in innovation?

Despite increases in innovation, China’s companies are still playing catch up with international counterparts

Shanghai biotech firm founder Wen Danyi has good reason to be confident about her company’s prospects.

Wen and her five-year-old contract research company Shanghai LIDE Biotech is helping pharmaceutical giants like Merck develop cancer drugs in a country in dire need of better and cheaper medication.

About 12,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and 7,500 others die from the disease each day in China, home to the world’s biggest ageing population.

For Wen, it’s personal. After 17 years of studying and working in the United States, as well as surgery for thyroid cancer, she returned to China to have a bigger impact on a society. “Five years ago, there were few Chinese companies making new drugs, but in recent years demand from local clients has burgeoned,” Wen said.

It’s still early days, though. Wen’s firm reported 70 per cent growth in revenues to 10.2 million yuan (HK$11.85 million) last year, but its losses were more than double that income, according to its published financial statements.

Nevertheless, Shanghai LIDE is an example of the kind of innovation-driven enterprise that the central government hopes can help shift the economy’s focus from cheap exports to sustainable services.

And like Shanghai LIDE, China can claim some progress in its quest. It has made it into the top 25 in the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Innovation Index. China’s State Intellectual Property Office also granted 359,000 patents last year, the highest total of any country.
China incorporates big data to track innovation, entrepreneurship

But many of those advances are refinements of existing designs rather than breakthroughs, and few translate into practical benefits, researchers say.

“The ultimate goal of innovation should be to turn achievements on paper into profit – to create greater value for companies and society and, in this sense, our innovation is incomplete,” Xu Chunming, deputy head of Shanghai University’s Intellectual Property Institute, said.

Xu said most Chinese patent applications were driven by government incentives – universities applied for patents because they could get government funding for certain projects. And businesses did the same to qualify for the tax breaks and subsidies open to ­“hi-tech” firms.

Commercial creativity is also held back by the lack of protection for intellectual property, labyrinthine approval procedures for new products and little funding for private-sector research.

Wen said China may be keen to lure talent back from overseas but in the business of cancer drug research, domestic firms made mainly “me too” or “me better” drugs based upon existing products overseas.

Wang Xuegong, deputy chairman of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Enterprises Association, said that in the last five to 10 years, more Chinese companies had started to develop their own drugs based on pharmaceutical breakthroughs made by their US or European counterparts.

The flow of talent back to China had accelerated the process, with ventures like Wen’s helping develop many of those new drugs, he said.
“We are moving closer to the leaders, but we still don’t have a strong ability to make our own breakthroughs,” Wang said.

The central government aims to have 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product directed to research and development by 2020, up from 2.1 per cent last year. But the jury is still out on whether a state-led system can bring the desired steps forward.

Chen Jing, research director at Hong Kong-based Asia Vision Technology, said most of the country’s registered scientific innovations were driven by the government, but the real driving force for technological progress “should be businesses”.

“Research and development by business produces real things that matter to daily life” and government-sanctioned research mostly resulted in paperwork, Chen said.

Science’s rising stars: China’s researchers make big leaps in contributions to top journals

In the annual Top 100 Global Innovators report published by Thomson Reuters, only one Chinese firm, Huawei, has made it onto the list in the last five years and even then it was only once – in 2014.

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Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.