While China is often accused of being the world’s foremost copycat, it is now angrily accusing foreign countries of copying and stealing its own hard-earned high-speed railway technology.
China is the world’s leader in high-speed rail with 20,000 kilometers of track and trains that can run at speeds of 400kph. But, according to an editorial published yesterday in the official Procuratorial Daily, other countries are now leaching off China’s success by taking advantage of the country’s infamously poor record of intellectual property protection.
The commentary explains that after spending years working to master the core technologies of high-speed rail, China has now begun exporting its technology abroad where other foreign companies are simply copying the tech through public records, replicating it and then filing for patents.
In order to counteract this trend, the editorial argues that China should put a new emphasis on protecting its intellectual property and securing patents whenever it develops new technology, following the example of its Western competitors.
The timing of the editorial is notable, coming just two days after US President Donald Trump ordered an investigation into China’s notoriously shaky IP practices. China has long been known as the Wild West of patent, trademark and copyright law with numerous foreign companies complaining about having their intellectual property stolen by Chinese firms and being barred from entering the large Chinese marketplace.
Earlier this week, high-speed rail was named as one of China’s “four great new inventions” by Chinese state media in a list that provoked widespread ridicule considering the fact that none of the inventions had actually been invented in China.
China started learning the particulars of high-speed rail with the help of companies from countries like Japan, Germany and France in the 2000s. These foreign companies signed joint-venture agreements with local companies in order to gain access to the vast Chinese market; however, as Chinese engineers began to learn their secrets, these foreign companies were gradually pushed out by domestic rivals who replicated their technology and turned it against them with government support.
What goes around comes around?
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