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US Tech Companies Start To Become Copycats of Chinese Peers (foxbusiness.com) 86

hackingbear quotes Dow Jones Newswire: Chinese technology companies have long had a reputation of being copycats of Western peers, but U.S. companies have recently begun to return the favor, said a partner at prominent venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz... China's internet titans such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. are influencing U.S. startups and majors alike, and many Chinese models are being replicated in the U.S., said Connie Chan, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture firm. LimeBike, a startup at San Mateo, Calif., adapted China's dockless bike-sharing model, first rolled out by Beijing-based Ofo Inc. and Beijing Mobike Technology Co., for U.S. consumers... Also, Apple Inc. recently added payment services to its iMessage chat service, taking a page from Tencent's playbook. "I love this reversal of what 'China copycat' can mean," she said. "It no longer just means a Chinese company copying the States, it can mean a U.S. company copying China."
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US Tech Companies Start To Become Copycats of Chinese Peers

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  • Wow, two examples! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 12, 2017 @07:36AM (#54601001)

    And they're both common sense ideas with zero evidence that they were copied from the Chinese!

    • In fact Apple almost certainly added that feature FOR the Chinese market. It remains to be seen if it will be used in the US, where everyone is set up to accept payment via credit cards and there's a significant amount of money behind them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 12, 2017 @07:52AM (#54601085)

      Go look up witte fietsen aka "white bikes".

      Good lord - what's with all the shameless propaganda lately on Slashdot trying to sell the ideas that India and China are great and wonderful innovators in technology, finance or industry?

      • ChiComs have been secretly funding pro-Chinese propoganda in the US, starting a few years ago. Things like Chinese classes at public (and private) schools, pro-China festivals (Chinese New Year), and even journalism. I guess they're funding Slashdot because it's a copy-cat of reddit, but without the democracy :)
        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          I guess they're funding Slashdot because it's a copy-cat of reddit, but without the democracy

          I'm hoping this was humor or sarcasm since Reddit started in 2005, eight years after Slashdot.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        what's with all the shameless propaganda lately on Slashdot trying to sell the ideas that India and China are great and wonderful innovators in technology, finance or industry?

        It's more like trying to counter the propaganda that China and India are full of uneducated village peasants whose only talent is stealing western ideas. I think it reached a low point with that story claiming that most of them couldn't write code that compiled.

      • It's because /. was outsourced to .in a while ago. You can see it occasionally in the grammar used in the headlines and descriptions. Occasionally, catastrophically.

    • And they're both common sense ideas

      Like 90% of all the IP "thefts". 99.9% when speaking about software patents.

    • What about paper and gunpowder? ;)
    • And having the corners on your device rounded isn't a common sense idea? Yet Apple was able to patent that and claim anyone who added it was copying them.
  • Who copied who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @07:49AM (#54601065) Journal

    Also, Apple Inc. recently added payment services to its iMessage chat service, taking a page from Tencent's playbook.

    A number of messaging services in the US have had this feature for many years. Facebook's Messenger is one example. If you want to get pedantic, a more accurate headline is "Apple copies Facebook Messenger's payment feature".

    Having a software feature in common, or offering a similar kind of rental service, is nothing like the kind of copying that the Chinese government run industries have been doing, which is more akin to reverse engineering a physical product in order to manufacture it themselves.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      WeChat pay predates Facebook Messenger's payment system, and is much more advanced. It's actually more like PayPal, but if your PayPal account was also your instant messenger account and your social media account...

      I've noticed that some western products are starting to copy cost reduction features that Chinese companies first started using too. One example would be running everything from USB power. As well as the connectors being cheap it means they can get a standard PSU at extremely low cost, or just om

      • WeChat pay predates Facebook Messenger's payment system, and is much more advanced. It's actually more like PayPal, but if your PayPal account was also your instant messenger account and your social media account...

        I don't know about anyone else but that sounds like a really bad idea.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      In the best case scenario the future will consist of both Asia copying the West and the West copying Asia. The proliferation of good ideas is not a bad thing. This would mean there are a few billion more people to draw the entrepreneurs of the future from. That will be a great thing for human progress.

      Another great byproduct will be the need for China to increase its respect for the intellectual property of the West. As they create IP of their own they will want it equally respected abroad. Yet another win

    • I don't know about reverse engineering anything, all the electronics in my house are either made china or have parts that were made in china even the stuff from American companies. When I think reverse engineering I think of someone starting with no knowledge of how the device works, not someone that already manufactures a large chunk of the parts deciding to assembly their own version of the end product.

    • Facebook Messenger has long been known as a copycat of the Chinese messengers, especially the payment features.

      https://walkthechat.com/facebo... [walkthechat.com]

  • The Chinese copied bike sharing and mobile payments, but first made sure all foreign firms offering similar services were blocked in China. And by the way, the bike sharing is a massive investment scam that is so far a total failure (I live in Shenzhen). If you want to learn from China, learn from their mistakes.
  • >LimeBike, a startup at San Mateo, Calif., adapted
    >China's dockless bike-sharing model, first rolled
    >out by Beijing-based Ofo Inc. and Beijing Mobike
    >Technology Co., for U.S. consumers...

    Prepare for broken bikes to blot out the skies Californians

  • What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 12, 2017 @08:05AM (#54601143) Homepage Journal

    LimeBike, a startup at San Mateo, Calif., adapted China's dockless bike-sharing model, first rolled out by Beijing-based Ofo Inc. and Beijing Mobike Technology Co., for U.S. consumers...

    I, for one, have never docked a bike. If this is what passes for Chinese innovation, then we can safely say they still have no idea how to innovate since those heady days of two fucking millennia ago when they were actually doing new stuff. Last time something like this came up I went to wikipedia to look at a list of Chinese inventions and guess what? Half of them are outright bullshit, and the other half are fucking old.

    China has a culture of hammering down protruding nails that retards creativity. What laid the groundwork for America to become an industrial power was its cottage industry. We knew how to make things, because nobody would stop you from doing it. We had a real can-do attitude, and we did. There's a lot more to the story, but it rapidly gets ultrapolitical and I've had that argument already. You can't do anything big in China without the blessing of the government. Of course, that's fairly true everywhere, but it's extra-true there.

    • If their dockless model does not pass as innovation to you, then why did an American startup copy it?
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      I don't often agree (like almost never) with drinkypoo, but this is spot on. Entrepreneurship is down in the US, and it's getting worse because of taxes and overregulation. I've had several family and friends who've owned small businesses, and remember my dad saying that he couldn't have afforded to start his company in the regulatory environment of the early-2000s...much of it Michigan state rules. I'm not anti-regulation, by a longshot, but I'd argue that a lot of it is bureaucratic nonsense.

      • I don't often agree (like almost never) with drinkypoo, but this is spot on. Entrepreneurship is down in the US, and it's getting worse because of taxes and overregulation. I've had several family and friends who've owned small businesses, and remember my dad saying that he couldn't have afforded to start his company in the regulatory environment of the early-2000s...much of it Michigan state rules. I'm not anti-regulation, by a longshot, but I'd argue that a lot of it is bureaucratic nonsense.

        I would add to this that most innovation comes from smaller companies. While GE and the like pay no taxes thanks to loopholes and special privileges small and medium businesses pay through the nose. When we hear about corporate taxes being too high it's easy to think of GE or some other multi-national that scams the public by paying nothing and think taxes should be higher. However the other side of the story is that the smaller companies that actually do new stuff often get snuffed out due to high taxes

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Umm, bike sharing isn't exactly a new idea...

    Let me guess? These US companies also copied the wheel from the Chinese? (Hey, if we're going to go back in time, let's go BACK!!)

  • This was expected (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @08:14AM (#54601193)

    Just after WWII Japan made things cheap and they where made fun of that they kopied everything, but made lousy quality.

    It is almost the same. Th difference is that the reason things are made so bad is because we, as customers want it cheap,

    They are able to make higher quality. They already do and don't you think theat a few of the almost 1.4 billion people in China are able to come up with ideas on how to do new things?

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      It is easy to create high-quality product if cost is not constrained - just over-over engineer everything. It is making high-quality cheap goods that is difficult.

      For example, making a cheap car is easy. Making a cheap car that is safe, clean, and reliable is challenging for even large manufacturers. This is why making a car like Bolt at $35K is much harder than making Tesla S at $100K.
    • Re:This was expected (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 12, 2017 @09:27AM (#54601573)

      I've been working in China for almost 7 years. The comparison between China and Japan is a bad one except for the starting with cheap knockoffs.

      Japan has an ingrained culture of craftsmanship, as does Germany and (believe it or not) the USA. It was natural for them to shift rapidly to high quality products.
      China does not have this culture. It was discouraged by dynastic rule and killed off by communist rule. There are exceptions, but the vast majority of engineers, managers, vendors, etc practice "chabuduo" or "good enough." It's a struggle to get them to admit flawed products are not ok. It's also a struggle to get them to not copy a competitor's product.

      The hope has been this would change. Unfortunately, no. So we are expanding R&D and manufacturing into the USA to get the quality and innovation we want (and save money doing it). The kicker: I work for a Chinese company.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        That's the opposite of my experience working with Chinese engineers and managers. They are constantly trying to improve their products and services. For example, I've been getting PCBs made and populated in China for over a decade, ranging from simple through hole stuff to eight layer super dense designs. Not only has quality consistently improved while prices have consistently fallen, every time I have had an issue they have rectified it and made sure it doesn't happen in future.

        A few years ago they starte

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      They already do and don't you think that a few of the almost 1.4 billion people in China are able to come up with ideas on how to do new things?

      This is an extremely important point to remember: population may not always be equivalent to total brainpower, but it certainly helps when it comes finding genius. Consider: the current US population of 341 million represents only 4.5 % of the world's 7.5 billion people. Even if we have more than our share of genius, most of the genius in the world comes from somewhere else.

      Sometimes I think the Moon landing wasn't such a good thing for the US. While the rest of the world looked back at that blue marble i

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Yup, Japan, Germany, Korea, Singapore...China's just next on the list, and as their standard of living increases, they'll price themselves out against cheaper competition from some third world country. But, I'd disagree with your reasoning on why things were so poorly maid. Having lived in Korea (80s & 90s), I witnessed firsthand their attitude about doing things just good enough to get paid, and it didn't matter if you were willing to pay more for quality. You can see that in the evolution of Hyunda

  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @09:09AM (#54601471)

    The Chinese are starting to have real skin in the game, and so they're now in the position we were in in the 19th century. You can continue to play the pirate on a lot of IP issues or you can have other industrial states recognize your IP. You can't have both. If the US hadn't changed, the British and Germans would have repaid us by having government staff engineers regularly bulk shipping American patent applications back to London and Berlin, and we'd have been poorer for it.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Maybe it's possible to be profitable and innovative without the kind of crazy IP laws that the US has. Maybe there is another way.

      The company I work for developed a really, really cool new technology last year. We tried to file a patent but unfortunately another company in another part of the world (not China) developed something similar around the same time. It's a shame but hardly means we can't profit from our innovation, as even if our competitors immediately start to copy it they are a long way behind

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        Maybe it's possible to be profitable and innovative without the kind of crazy IP laws that the US has. Maybe there is another way.

        Maybe, but the US's IP laws aren't that dissimilar from those found in the entire Western world, and some of the more ridiculous ones originated outside the US, and were imported to the US as part of various IP treaties.

        At first, widespread "piracy" of films & books was allowed (and if not legal, at least not prosecuted) in the USA -- the films of Georges Méliès bei

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @01:15PM (#54603337)
    DJI is a much better example. They pretty much invented the whole "consumer drone" niche and now are the dominant player there. All completely from scratch.

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