A Peek at the Discussion Held at the Meeting of the “China Forum”- infringement of copyrights in China

As I told you, Lichi Translations recently hosted a meeting of the “China Forum”. The participants of the forum held a stormy debate on the subject of copyrights in China and implications for businesses that operate there.
Should businesses refrain from entering the Chinese market, because of infringement of copyrights in China?Motti Harkabi: The problem of copyrights is a worldwide problem. Large companies in China do not copy technology: the big government firms can be sued, so they are very careful. As for the small companies – there’s the same problem all over the world; it’s not specific to China.”Adv. Yoav Sadeh: “Regarding the safeguarding of intellectual property, the situation in China is improving, especially since the Chinese themselves are developing IP and are safeguarding their own interest. Even large Israeli companies like ECI are acquiring Chinese companies to use their technology. Technologies can be found in China that the Israelis haven’t managed to develop. Many of the breakthroughs made in China came about because of the fact that it was possible to work there under conditions that were impossible in Europe, the US or Israel: for instance, environmental conditions (e.g. with chemicals) that were prohibited in the West. In China, such restrictions were less enforced in the past. Nowadays, there’s more awareness of work conditions and intellectual property and more enforcement, so for an Israeli company introducing a new technology into China, things will be somewhat easier than in the past.”Tal Reshef“Should the lower-level companies be more careful?”

Motti Harkabi: “The Chinese copy just like everywhere in the world, but they upgrade the product. Therefore you have to try and grab a strong segment of the market and exploit the time element.”

Mepi Frankel: “Intellectual property is no reason not to enter China. Firstly, the Chinese can copy the product even if it’s sold elsewhere. Secondly, it takes time to copy, and so it’s possible to take advantage of the time available and make a profit from the product until they manage to copy it. Thirdly, the product needs upgrading all the time – we must be one step ahead technologically, so that by the time the copy is made, a new version has already been released.”

Robert Barzilai: “I worked with an Israeli company that sold 15 of their devices to China. Within two months, the Chinese had copies each of the devices – they even kept the original name of the Israeli company. Later, the Chinese who had bought the products turned to the Israeli company with complaints about the product. As a result, the Israeli company collapsed and subsequently went bankrupt.”

Ruth Harkabi: “We have to investigate the Chinese companies and partners we work with very carefully to ensure that collaboration will be successful.”

So what’s the conclusion?

China is very fertile commercial ground, but you do have to be alert to the market conditions and shortcomings. To have successful business dealings in China, like all over the world, you have to investigate the local companies and partners very carefully. High quality business connections in China, Chinese translation services and a deep understanding of the culture can significantly enhance commercial success in China.

If you want to join the forum, add a comment: we’ll add you to our mailing list and send you a personal invitation to the next meeting.

If you want to raise a topic for discussion or tell us about collaboration that has resulted from the forum, please add a comment.

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