TCM injection enters phase III clinical trial in US (2015-06-29,People's Daily)
Traditional Chinese Medicine anticancer injection Kanglaite, of which China has proprietary intellectual property right, has been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration to enter the phase III clinical trial and will expand usage among cancer patients in the US, according to news released by Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.
Kanglaite has become the first TCM injection product that enters the phase III clinical trial in the US. It is a big progress made by China in innovative TCM studies.
Developed by Professor Li Dapeng of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Kanglaite injection is a unique botanically sourced molecular targeted agent prepared as a micro-emulsion for intravenous use. It is manufactured by the state of art technology with active substance extracted from a natural herbal plant "semen coicis". The medicine has applied patent for invention in 11 countries and regions, including the US, Japan, and the EU and has been on sale in many countries.
In the phase II clinical trial, major evaluation indicators have shown that the median survival time of Kanglaite treatment group is 1.9 months longer than the control group that taking regular western medicines, and the objective remission rate of the Kanglaite treatment group has been improved 85.7 percent.
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Chinese ambassador eyes closer innovation cooperation with EU (2015-06-29,Xinhua)
Chinese Ambassador to the European Union Yang Yanyi said here that China looked forward to enhancing cooperation with the EU in scientific technology and innovation.
She expressed the willingness in a recent interview with EurActiv, an EU based online media organization, as a China-EU leaders' meeting is slated for Monday in Brussels.
Yang said the cooperative areas in innovation could include innovative projects relating to 5G, 5G standards, high-tech innovation, Internet, e-commerce, advanced digital services, cyber security, big data and smart cities and smart energy.
Noting that China and the EU enjoy one of the world's biggest and most dynamic trading relationships, she said that to launch and conclude negotiation on a China-EU Investment Agreement is to provide a simpler and more secure legal framework to investors of both sides and tap the full potential of China-EU cooperation.
"We both agree to accelerate the negotiations so as to achieve substantial progress by the end of this year. During the 17th China-EU Summit, Premier Li Keqiang will exchange views with his European counterparts on this important topic and provide political guidance for future work," she said.
Yang reiterated China's firm stance to protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, saying that China is improving foreign investment laws and regulations, and exploring a management model for foreign investors with pre-entry national treatment plus the negative list. Measures will also be taken to provide better IPR protection and to safeguard lawful rights and interests of foreign investors and enterprises.
She said that the hard fact and simple truth is European companies are still making profits in China and that European investment in China has been rather dynamic. In the first quarter of this year, investment from 28 EU countries grew by 23.2 percent year-on-year.
She also stressed that the "Belt and Road" initiative and EU's investment plan tabled by European commission President Jean-Claude Juncker enjoy a certain degree of synergy.
Yang said China seeks to combine its comparative advantages in production capacity and equipment manufacturing with advanced technology and management experience of developed countries, to better meet the needs of vast developing countries in infrastructure construction and industrialization, realize mutual benefit and win-win results.
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How makerspaces are nurturing the next wave of Chinese innovators (2015-06-29,China Daily)
Shen Mengmin, 33, a former excavator salesman from Central China's Henan province, came to Beijing in 2013 hoping to create an app that links second-hand excavators with buyers online. He turned to Garage Cafe, or "Cheku Cafe" in Chinese, one of the most active incubators for grassroot innovators in the capital, located on the second floor of a hotel at Zhongguancun Innovation Street in Beijing.
"I stepped into Cheku without knowing anything about developing an app," he said. For 18 months he immersed himself there brainstorming with others. During tough times he slept in public bath for 38 yuan ($6) a night to save money.
Later, he received a 1.5 million yuan investment, and found a programmer who made his dream product come true. The app has already been downloaded 30,000 times on Android market and the programmer is now a core member of his team.
Shen is not alone. Thousands of individual innovators who have no resources to create a product or start their own business are achieving their goals and turning themselves into formidable innovators, thanks to bustling makerspaces like Cheku cafe.
"Cheku is bringing in ordinary people without formal education, technology or money, and empowering them to do something that they want to do. This is especially important in a country where the innovation is largely confined to big companies, or elites," said Li Yan, a Cheku manager.
The cafe was founded in 2011 by Su Di, an investor who was having a hard time finding suitable start-ups to invest in. The cafe's name is drawn from US companies such as Amazon and Google who got their start in garages.
It is open to everyone, and after buying a single cup of coffee customers can spend a whole day there, with electrical outlets, Wi-Fi connection, and basic office equipment, including printers and copiers, provided free. Humming with activity, IT moguls, successful entrepreneurs and investors are invited to share their ideas here.
Assistance in company registration, bank loans, inexpensive online services, such as cloud storage and patent information are also provided by Cheku managers. But most Cheku-ers say they love the place because it attracts a circle of like-minded people who can help pool resources.
Makerspaces, or hackerplaces, have been part of the global entrepreneurship scene for a while. They can be traced to Berlin where, in 1995, a group of young programmers pooled ideas and began sharing a workshop space. Over the past four years, the movement has gained ground in China, too, with philanthropic entrepreneurs or companies eyeing the startup market establishing spaces to help startups.
There are at least 130 makerspaces in China clustered in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai but also in a wide swath of second tier, inland cities.
As one of the earliest and most successful makerspaces in Beijing, Cheku's business model has been copied in other cities. Nanjing-based 321 Chuangzhi Cafe, Beehive Cafe in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong are all of this type with a focus on forming an open community.
"Cheku is where you find your partner," said co-founder Liu Hui. "It's like forming a band. You have a singer, a drummer and need a guitarist. This is where you find one. "
Ren Xiaoqian, a designer, and programmer Huang Guangming, started working at Cheku when it was first established. It was there that they met their future investor, founder and president of Zendai Group, who also offered business advice. They finally came up with a new type of mobile Internet product called MomentCam, which allows users to easily create and share customized, animated caricatures of people.
MomentCam might be one of the most successful products generated in Cheku. The app has been downloaded more than 200 million times globally and was crowned by Facebook as winner of its FB Start competition, a contest that sought to identify the best apps in the world.
A large number of people working in Cheku are technicians from traditional manufacturing industries who are transforming traditional wares into smart ones. Some target the niche market of smart home devices, with a competitive edge in projects too small to appeal to big tech companies.
Hu Liangcai, an electromechanical professional for 12 years from East China's Jiangxi, came to Cheku last year with a plan to make a water-filled heater that can be connected to Wi-Fi and operated by mobile phone via an app. Although knowing nothing about how to connect his heaters to the Internet, Hu met some computer engineers and tech fans who helped him select multi-chip modules and create the app.
The cafe put Hu in touch with many free services, including the Smart Cloud, cloud computing support from JD, one of China's top brands and largest e-tailer. The service usually costs individual users 50,000 yuan a year.
Naturally, at the other end of the spectrum, Internet specialists are also grabbing a slice of the start-up pie through more exclusive incubators. Most of these more "elite" innovators are middle- or high-level employees at China's leading Internet firms who have quit their jobs to try their luck in their own ventures.
Such innovators are seen as technology experts, and can attract a powerful team from within their networks. What they lack are capital and knowledge of starting a company, and this is where a different kind of makerspace comes in.
3W Coffee in Beijing, which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited in May in a gesture of government support for startups, and Innovation Works by Kai-Fu Lee, the founding president of Google China and Binggo Caf¨¦ are examples of investment-oriented, professional incubators.
Beijing-based Space 36Kr incubator labels itself as the place to get much-needed startup financing. 36Kr was established in 2011 as a media firm focused on financial news. In April 2014, it opened Space 36Kr incubator.
36Kr has a strict screening system. A panel of five to seven professional investors and IT business insiders choose 10-30 teams to incubate, usually from 1,000 applicants. Once selected, teams can work for free for three months and get entrepreneurship training. At the end of the incubation period, which they call "graduation", a meeting is arranged with top Chinese investors, including IDG, Sequoia Capital China and Matrix Partners China.
Out of the 42 teams to have "graduated", 40 have received seed funding, 300 million yuan in total, or 7.5 million per team. Six got two rounds of investments. Among the two that did not secure investment, one was acquired while the other achieved self-financing.
"More than half of the 42 projects are launched by people who have quit big companies such as Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Baidu Inc., Facebook and Google,"said Zheng Wangyu, a Space 36Kr manager and member of the "screening" team.
Liu Junyan, or Jervis Liu, founder of Easemob, graduated last August, before receiving two rounds of investments amounting to nearly $7 million. The core members of his team, including himself, are four senior engineers who resigned from Nokia, Polycom and Redhat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions.
They designed a tool that adds instant messaging to apps and enables apps to have built-in customer service. It was hailed by app developers who said that with it they can easily make apps social without programming a social networking function from scratch. A year after it was launched, 23,000 companies have used the tool in various kinds of apps, ranging from telecommunications, e-commerce, to financing.
"According to our information, this is the first product of its type in the world," said Tang Huan, public relations chief of Easymob.
Zhang Mo, a programmer who once worked with Microsoft Research and IBM, graduated from 36Kr too. She designed dress-plus.com, a website that uses advanced image recognition and deep-learning techniques. Users can take a picture of a dress or upload an image, and the website finds similar dresses from a growing database covering more than 150 online marketplace, including Amazon, Tmall, Farfetch and Heels.
"Being professional, the elites are more likely to survive fierce competition, and build something that has huge impact," said Zheng.
On March, 36Kr launched an online platform that connects startup companies and angel investors across the country. So far, more than 300 qualified investors and 22,000 startup companies have subscribed and 50 investments totaling 200 million yuan have been made.
Now, 36kr is planning to raise capital in new ways to fuel burgeoning IT innovation. Its new online equity crowd funding platform Next allows people with either 300,000 yuan annual salary or one million yuan in financial deposits, to invest in start-up companies.
"Some fast-expanding startups offer original shares, which effectively ensure low risk and high return to buyers. The platform is where ideas meet capital, and crowd funding for business starters is the trend, " said Liu Chengcheng, 36Kr CEO.
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Cracking the Qualcomm anti-monopoly case (2015-06-24,China Daily)
Xu Kunlin headed the investigation into the high-profile case against Qualcomm Inc, the United States-based semiconductor giant.
The company was fined a record $975 million in February by the National Development and Reform Com-mission in a landmark anti-trust probe after it agreed to modify its technology licensing practices in China.
The country is a major market for Qualcomm with about half of its $26.5 billion in revenue last year coming from here.
It is now even more crucial after 4G LTE networks were rolled out by China Mobile Communications Corp and other wireless operators. This year, the number of 4G LTE subscribers in China is expected to rise to 350 million from about 100 million in 2014.
Chinese smartphone manufacturers need to license Qualcomm's technology to protect themselves from patent lawsuits. Part of the deal with the NDRC was to reduce those licensing fees to companies such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Xiaomi Corp.
During the case, one man was key to the investigation. Xu, 51, was the chief of the price supervision and anti-monopoly bureau before becoming the director of two other departments at the NDRC.
Below are abstracts from his interview with the Chinese-language Oriental Outlook, which was published on Monday.
Since the Qualcomm case lasted 14 months, what kind of pressure were you under?
The pressure had nothing really to do with the length of the case. We were involved in 28 rounds of negotiations, including eight between myself and Qualcomm president (Derek Aberle). In the first round of talks, he brought six vice-presidents to introduce their business model. The main purpose was to explain and defend their way of doing business. We were fully prepared for that and raised questions concerning all the different aspects. The first meeting lasted for more than two hours. In the second round, he brought eight vice-presidents.
So what happened after that?
Qualcomm then handed over a report that was written by Zhang Xinzhu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who sat on the commission advising the government's anti-trust authority. We felt this was a conflict of interests, so he was removed from the commission.
On Oct 9, 2014, you were named the chief of the price supervision bureau at the NDRC. This must have been a day of mixed emotions as we understand talks were tough?
The meeting only lasted about half an hour. We made no progress and negotiations were hard. I understood the company's concerns as they absolutely wanted to keep their business model. But from our view, we wanted to change that, so Qualcomm eventually accepted the fine.
Tell us your reflections about the case?
China's anti-monopoly law enforcement came into its own during the investigation. It was related to intellectual property abuse. At times, it can be difficult to draw the line between intellectual property abuse and intellectual property protection. There were very few previous cases we could refer to. Qualcomm had been under investigation in the European Union, Japan and South Korea, but never admitted monopoly status.
In August 2014, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China issued a public statement regarding the anti-trust department's law enforcement procedures. It questioned the impartiality of the investigation. How did you deal with that?
I refused to meet with them at first because they issued the statement before talking to us. But the chamber later said it was a misunderstanding. As for the transparency questions they raised, the details of a monopoly case "can, but not necessarily, be made public" according to Chinese law. Some companies have asked us not to reveal details of investigations because it could damage their image. We respected their concerns.
The US chamber of commerce complained about the behavior of investigators who raided the Mercedes-Benz's Shanghai office during a price-fixing probe in August 2014. The German auto giant was later fined $56.5 million by the NDRC. What was your reaction to this?
Well, the practice of mounting a raid to gather information is carried out by our US counterparts. Acquiring first-hand information is critical during an anti-trust case. If we had not raided the offices, key information would have simply disappeared. US anti-monopoly agents use the same techniques.
The other complaint against the NDRC was that it did not allow companies being investigated to hire lawyers. What are your comments on that?
During the Qualcomm case, there was a local lawyer on the spot all the time in our discussions.
Overseas critics say you have gone to great lengths to single out foreign companies. What is your response?
Investigating overseas companies accounts for only 10 percent of our workload. But we still need to improve a number of things. Now, we will publicly announce penalty notices, but information that companies believe contains business secrets will not be made public.
There was a great deal of media attention in 2011 when the NDRC launched anti-trust investigations against China Telecom and China Unicom, both State-owned companies. How did you feel about this?
We had to investigate because we received reports with detailed information. When the anti-monopoly law came in (2008), companies did not take it seriously. Investigating SOEs was a challenging job. But in the end, the telecommunication carriers finally agreed to revamp their business operations.
You once said punishment is not the goal. So, what is the object of these investigations?
It is simply to create a level playing field for businesses to operate on. We investigated six liquid crystal display panel manufacturers, including Samsung (in January 2013). It was the first time an overseas company was punished. (The six companies, including Samsung, were fined $57.5 million for price-fixing). The case resulted in opening up the market to other companies (that made LCD screens) and helped Chinese consumers (as prices came down on those products).
Maybe you can tell us how the bureau gathers evidence?
We have two departments. Each one has four investigators and they have quite a heavy caseload. We talk to all the relevant parties in gathering information.
The NDRC's anti-monopoly division has expanded over the years. How big is it now?
In December 2009 when I joined the bureau, there were only two people handling anti-trust cases. By July 2011, the price supervision bureau was renamed the bureau of price supervision and anti-monopoly. The number of staff also increased to 46.
Does the NDRC work with overseas organizations?
We work very closely with our counterparts in the EU. We have sent three teams of investigators to work with them. We also have annual minister-level discussions with the US law enforcement agencies.
? 1985: Qualcomm was founded in California. The company starts working on CDMA, a unique digital wireless technology used by the United States military for secure communications.
? 1991: Qualcomm goes public and issues 4 million shares on the Nasdaq in New York.
? 1995: Hutchison Telephone Co Ltd, based in Hong Kong, launches its first commercial CDMA service.
? 1999: Qualcomm joined the S&P 500 Index and has developed close links with the telecommunications industry in China.
? 2007: The company became the world's leading mobile chipset provider. It supplies integrated circuits (chipsets) to manufacturers of advanced 3G mobile devices.
? 2009: South Korea fines Qualcomm more than $200 million after an anti-monopoly case.
? 2013: Investigations into the company start in China.
? 2015: Qualcomm is fined $975 million for violating China's anti-monopoly law.
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Chinese biologists find duckweed to tackle water pollution (2015-06-24,Xinhua)
Biologists have found a strain of duckweed that can effectively purify polluted water and transform nitric oxide into biological fertilizer, a researcher told Xinhua on Wednesday.
A research team lead by Zhao Hai, with the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, identified the duckweed species from more than 800 samples collected across the world in nine years.
Should this duckweed be planted in just 1 percent of China's lakes and ponds, it could generate 1.72 million tons of ethanol annually, worth 10.3 billion yuan (1.68 billion U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, it can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 10 million tons, said Zhao.
More than 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted and reducing aquatic nitric oxide content would go some way to addressing this, he said.
Duckweed, the smallest aquatic flowering plant in the world, absorbs a high level of nitric and phosphide and is quite effective in dealing with heavy metal pollution, said Zhao.
After six days of duckweed treatment, wastewater passes the top level pollutant discharge standard, he said.
The team has applied for a national invention patent for the duckweed system.
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Inventor tackles lobsters, vegetables on path to patents (2015-06-22,China Daily)
When summer comes around, people like to gather with friends after work to eat lobster and drink beer. Behind the scenes of the seasonal feasting, a 65-year-old entrepreneur has been busily making it easier to cook the crustaceans.
Yu Tianwang, who spent 19 years inventing a vegetable washing machine in Wuhan, Hubei province, turned his attention to lobsters last year after noticing how popular they were as summertime fare.
Using his machine, restaurants can wash 15 kilograms of lobsters in four minutes at a cost of less than 1 yuan. The machine doesn't use detergents or brushes and doesn't kill the lobsters or break their legs. The machine is 30 times faster than its human counterparts.
After China's Central Television aired a segment on his machine in June 2014, Yu received more than 20 calls the next day from people across the country seeking to buy it.
A factory in Nantong, Jiangsu province, has invested 5 million yuan ($805,626) in cooperation with Yu to establish a factory to build lobster washing machines. The first batch of 300 machines, at the price of 19,800 yuan each, were sent nationwide, to cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Yu's lobster machine success follows previous achievements in vegetable washing. His initial inspiration was his wife, Liu Hehua, whose hands reddened and split when she put them into frigid water to wash vegetables during the winter months.
"My wife doesn't need to endure that pain if I invent a vegetable machine," Yu said. "Though I just have a junior high school's degree, I'm an experienced machine fitter. I believe I can do that for her."
After quitting his job at a boat-building factory in 1996, Yu devoted himself to the invention after Liu approved the startup capital of 3,000 yuan. The first generation of the veggie washing machine was ready two years later.
"The machine was mainly combined by an iron shelf and a plastic bucket," Liu said. "People living in the whole street can hear the machine when it worked. But the vegetables could be washed clean."
Yu was not satisfied with the first machine. He began to collect materials on the street and from neighbors, such as abandoned plastic tubes and nails, as his monthly salary was only 189 yuan before he turned 60 and received a pension.
The fifth generation of Yu's vegetable washing machine was patented and could wash up to 50 kilograms of vegetables in one hour.
"I also rented farmland in rural areas to grow vegetables by myself," Yu said. "I can test the pesticide residues by washing vegetables that used different amounts of pesticide."
Over the years, he spent more than 200,000 yuan on his inventions and now owns 11 patents. He was awarded "the top innovation" in a Wuhan invention competition.
Now he intends to turn his attention to inventing a small-sized washing machine for families. "I want to free people from trifles such as washing vegetables," he said.
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Innovation competition marks 10th anniversary (2015-06-22,China Daily)
Student entrepreneurs from China and the US gathered in Pittsburgh on June 19 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chunhui Cup Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, which is held annually to encourage students to come up with new ideas.
Sponsored jointly by China's Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology, the celebration is part of a series of events scheduled for the 6th China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.
The Chunhui Cup encourages and guides Chinese students studying in the US to start innovation-based businesses back in China.
"In this age, one cannot deny the trend of innovation," said Liu Yandong, vice-premier of China's State Council, at the celebration. "The ability to innovate is how the world develops. Whether it's in China or in America, innovation and entrepreneurship is the domain of young people."
The vice-premier commended Pittsburgh for being a city that encourages innovation and has used the creativity of its residents to transform the city's economy and help young people realize their dreams.
For years, America has attracted the best science and technology experts from around the world and from that emerged Intel, Apple, Amazon, helping America become the world's innovation hub, Liu said.
For China, ever since reform and opening up, the country has supplied "the world's primary productive force," she said, creating Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi, and others, bringing forth "a new model of enterprise and submitting the most patents in the world within three years."
For the Chunhui competition, students submit business plans on proposed projects, which are then evaluated by a panel of experts comprised of business incubator managers, venture capitalists and CEOs. Winners are sent on a trip to Guangzhou, where they collect their prizes and get a chance to pitch their projects to Chinese venture firms, science parks and manufacturing enterprises.
"By doing so, the competition provides them with the access to first-hand information on China's business environment as well as financial and industrial resources necessary for the successful creation of a technology oriented start-up company," the competition advertises.
Along with the commemoration of the Chunhui Cup, Friday's event included an inaugural ceremony for the 2015 China-US Young Maker Competition, an activity supporting the Sixth Round of China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. Vice-Premier Liu and US Secretary of State John Kerry are the competition's co-chairs.
Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corp, a co-organizer of the competition, said that Intel is excited to be part of the activities promoting innovation and collaboration between young Chinese and American makers.
"I believe that makers today are true adventurers. They are the creators and engineers of our flight to the future. The next big thing will likely come out of the youth," he said.
The Young Makers competition requires participants to create innovative products that focus on community development, education, environmental protection, health and fitness, energy, transportation and other areas of sustainable development.
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Think tank eyes bigger advisory role (2015-06-18,China Daily)
Experts from Chinese Academy of Sciences seek to further guide major public policy
An organization with six decades of history and a diverse brain trust of experts charged with developing solutions to public policy challenges is reforming itself in an effort to meet China's most pressing needs.
The Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have served as an advanced national think tank for the Chinese government on major science and technology issues. Now they are working to better integrate their resources and intelligence, build their brand and further influence public policy.
"Through six decades, the Academic Divisions have made considerable contributions to China's science and technology development by providing counseling to the decision-makers," said Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "In the future, we will further develop the Academic Divisions to promote their role in scientific research and education."
The elite 724 CAS members, who have received the highest academic accolades in the fields of science and technology and a lifelong title conferred by the State, have laid the foundation for the development of modern science and technology in China.
They have been instrumental in the development of large government-funded projects such as satellites and the atomic bomb, the building of the country's science and technology award system, the establishment of the National Natural Science Foundation of China - a foundation that granted some 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) to nearly 60,000 projects last year - and the development of the National High-Tech R&D Program of China, under which more than 120,000 academic papers and 8,000 patents have been produced.
However, unlike researchers working for major strategic consulting firms like the Rand Corporation, CAS members are not full-time employees of the CAS Academic Divisions. After being selected as CAS members, the scientists continue to carry out scientific research at their institutes or universities, while making proposals to government decision-makers.
"People usually ask me how to let the Academic Divisions play a bigger role in producing innovative scientific results and improve education quality. It is indeed a difficult issue because the more than 700 CAS members are actually scattered in different research institutes that are independent of the Academic Divisions, or even of the Chinese Academy of Sciences," Bai said.
"We are also planning to establish a strategic advisory academy to integrate the intelligence resources specialized in key subjects including environment and information technology," he said.
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SPC to rule on tea brand dispute (2015-06-16,China Daily)
The Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Tuesday heard an appeal against a compensation ruling over a long-running copyright dispute between two popular Chinese beverage brands.
A bench of five SPC judges heard the case in which Jiaduobao (China) Drink Co., Ltd appealed a local court's ruling that it must pay more than 150 million yuan (24.5 million US dollars) in compensation to Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (GPH), holder of the 100-year-old herbal tea brand Wong Lo Kat, for design infringement.
The trial concluded at about 6 p.m. but the final ruling was yet to be announced.
Hong Kong-based Jiaduobao had been using the Wong Lo Kat brand since 1995, when it leased it from GPH. However, the company was only authorized to use the brand until 2010, and had the lease contract extended by bribing administrative staff of GPH.
Over the leasing period, the herbal teas in red cans achieved huge success in China's drinks market.
The two companies fell into a trademark dispute which went to arbitration in 2011, with a decision made in 2012 that the brand rights rest with GPH.
They later sued each other over the design of the cans used for their respective herbal tea products.
In December, the Guangdong Higher People's Court ruled in favor of GPH and ordered Jiaduobao to pay the damages.
The two parties' claims of false advertising against each other have also resulted in multiple lawsuits.
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Sino-French JV to breed better pigs (2015-06-15,China Daily)
France-based Choice Genetics SAS, a leading global swine genetics and breeding company, will set up a subsidiary in China.
Choice Genetics China will be the group's eighth overseas branch. It already has branches in Europe, the Americas and Asia. "Progress toward opening the subsidiary is going smoothly," said Fu Yan, vice-president of Ningbo Tech-Bank Co Ltd, an agro-processing company.
Ningbo Tech-Bank, which is listed in Shenzhen, acquired a 40.69 percent stake in Choice Genetics from the latter's parent company - Groupe Grimaud - for $15 million in August. The deal, carried out through Ningbo Tech-Bank's wholly owned subsidiary Hanswine Swine Industry Ltd, makes Ningbo Tech-Bank the second-largest shareholder in Choice Genetics.
Choice Genetics China will be founded by Ningbo Tech-Bank and Grimaud in Hexian county, Ma'anshan, Anhui province, where Hanswine is based. Ningbo Tech-Bank said earlier that the two partners will invest $2 million in the subsidiary.
Fu said the partners are discussing details of the joint venture, including final candidates for the post of its chief executive officer, who will probably be a Chinese national.
Although cooperation between Chinese hog producers and Western swine genetics companies is expanding, the Chinese partners often find it difficult to get core technology from their Western partners, which have the most advanced genetics technologies and management practices.
"Most of the sows and boars have been imported, mainly from the United States and Europe. Western breeders have monopolized the supply of breeding stock for many years," said Fu. But the case would be different at Choice Genetics China. "As a major shareholder, we consider it our right to obtain Choice Genetics' core genetics technologies."
Fu said: "Although Ningbo Tech-Bank is getting more internationalized, we will be very careful when it comes to patent issues, which is a lesson from the case of Choice Genetics." Choice Genetics' US branch lost a patent suit last year, causing financial problems for the group. The investment from Ningbo Tech-Bank helped the company.
Fu got his doctorate in Germany and worked at genetics company PIC, a division of Genus Plc. He returned to China through the government's "1,000 Talent" program, which aims to attract experts from around the world. Fu is also a professor of animal genetics at Zhejiang University, one of the country's top universities.
Ningbo Tech-Bank, founded in 1997 in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has developed rapidly in the recent years with support from international cooperation, he said. The company initially focused on animal feed, animal vaccines, aquaculture and biodiesel, before expanding to swine breeding in 2013.
That same year, Ningbo Tech-Bank set up Hanswine and announced the takeover of AgFeed Industries Inc's assets in China for $48 million. AgFeed, listed on the Nasdaq, was a US company with primary operations in China.
In the following year, Han-swine raised about 500,000 hogs, sows and boars, making it one of China's top 10 swine-breeding companies. "We are confident we can reach annual production of 3 million swine in five years," said Fu.
Huang Chaoyang, executive general manager of Han-swine, said that when annual production reaches 1.5 million hogs, the company will build a slaughterhouse and meat-processing plant.
China is the world's largest hog producer, with more than 735 million raised in 2014, up from 715 million the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Fu warned that China's hog industry faces overcapacity. "Even without imported pork, domestic output can almost satisfy the needs of Chinese consumers," said Fu.
Fu said that overcapacity will not deter Ningbo Tech-Bank from expanding into the hog industry. Rather, it will give the company more opportunities, since its average costs are lower than many of its domestic peers.
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US desperate to maintain cyber supremacy (2015-06-12,People's Daily)
Cyber security must be high on Central Military Commission Vice-Chairman Fan Changlong's agenda during his ongoing visit to the United States, especially after the US Department of Homeland Security said last week that the computers of the Office of Personnel Management had been hacked and data on about 4 million federal employees stolen.
As if they were waiting, major US media outlets immediately jumped the gun to say China had "hacked" US government websites. The New York Times website even alleged the same Chinese hackers had stolen personnel information from health insurance giants Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.
The US government and media are never tired of speculating on the "China cyber-threat" theory, which seems to have replaced the "China climate threat", "China environment threat" and "China food threat" theories. True, their enthusiasm for sensationalizing cyber issues ebbed after former National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden exposed the US' surveillance program, which even targeted American citizens and allies, but they are unlikely to give up this game as long as cyber security remains a major issue.
China is home to the largest number of netizens, which the US uses as an obvious excuse to accuse it of being behind almost every cyberattack, in particular, those that it cannot locate.
The latest wave of speculations comes along with the US Department of Defense announcing its Cyber Security Strategy, which lists cyber-action as a priority, implying that the US will more proactively handle cyberspace crisis and intervene earlier rather than later.
The US has spent huge amounts of human and financial resources, and energy to build a cyber military force and develop new cyber-weapons. In fact, it issued the International Strategy for Cyberspace in 2011 saying any cyberattack on the US would be treated as an act of war and vowed to strike back accordingly. And after the strategy was opposed by many, the US used the "China cyber threat" theory to ease the pressure. It is resorting to the same trick now.
The US' speculation, however, highlights another factor: China's cyberspace-related industries are developing fast, which has aroused US concerns. The US started developing its information technology industry since the 1990s and transformed it into one of the pillars of the national economy, gaining a solid competitive edge globally. And it has invested heavily in new technologies like big data and cloud computation over the past decade to maintain its leading position in the IT industry.
Given these facts, the US will never welcome China as a competitor. In fields such as electronic components, bandwidth and wifi devices, China is catching up with the US, and its enterprises like Huawei already pose a challenge to traditional US giants like Cisco and Intel. In a report this March, the World Intellectual Property Organization said that last year China submitted 255 million patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty framework, 18.7 percent more than in 2013 and the third-highest in the world.
The US is hell-bent on curbing China's advance in cyberspace because it does not want its dominant role challenged. But by labeling unfounded accusations against other countries and trying to thwart their progress, the US is surely not helping its own cause.
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Late Chinese cancer expert wins European inventor prize with collaborator (2015-06-12,Xinhua)
The European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday awarded a prize to late Chinese virologist and cervical cancer expert Zhou Jian and Australian immunologist Ian Frazer for developing the world's first cervical cancer vaccine.
At a ceremony here attended by more than 400 international guests, the EPO granted the Popular Prize of the European Inventor Award 2015 to Frazer and Sun Xiaoyi, the widow of Zhou Jian.
Since 2006, the European Inventor Award has been presented annually by the EPO to honor inventive individuals and teams all over the world whose pioneering work contributes to technological progress and economic growth and improves people's daily life.
The award has five prize categories, including Industry, Research, Small-and-medium sized Enterprises, Non-european countries, and Lifetime achievement, to which a new prize category -- Popular Prize -- was added in 2013.
The Popular Prize is decided by the public who vote for their favorite inventions from the 15 finalists online during about six weeks before the award ceremony.
"The public's choice was clear this year, with the Australian-Chinese research team receiving more than 32 percent of the 47,000 votes cast online," said the EPO in a statement.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amid women living in less developed regions, with estimated 445,000 new cases reported in 2012.
In 2012, approximately 270,000 women died from cervical cancer, and more than 85 percent of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
"Developing a vaccine has saved countless lives and also saved many women from a protracted and painful course of treatment, involving surgery and chemotherapy," said EPO President Benoit Battistelli.
"The award shows how grateful people are to Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou for this pioneering invention," he said, "The Popular Prize thus takes on a very special meaning this year."
Zhou and Frazer met at the University of Cambridge in 1989 and later started to work together on the vaccine against Human papillomavirus (HPV), a major cause of cervical cancer, at the University of Queensland in Australia.
In 1991, they succeeded in making a virus-like particle resembling the HPV shell, from which the vaccine against HPV would ultimately be made. In 2006, seven years after Zhou's unexpected death at the age of 42 from hepatitis, U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co marketed this vaccine with the name "Gardasil".
According to the EPO, Gardasil is now used in 121 countries and has been administered more than 125 million times. The WHO and public health agencies in Australia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. recommend vaccination against HPV for young women aged nine to 25.
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Venture lights the way to more exports (2015-06-11,China Daily)
Lumileds Automotive Lighting, a Chinese-Dutch component manufacturer, will build a new production line in the country for automotive light-emitting diode bulbs for the domestic and overseas markets.
Lumileds represents the former LED components and automotive lighting business unit of the Netherlands-based company Royal Philips NV. A consortium led by GO Scale Capital acquired an 80.1 percent stake in the unit in April. Philips retains the remaining 19.9 percent equity.
Klemens Brunner, senior vice-president of Lumileds, said the company has increased exports to markets such as Indonesia, India and Thailand from its plants in Shanghai's Jiading district and Songzi in Hubei province. It also plans to ship products to European markets.
The company plans to expand capacity and accelerate the localization of D5S lighting for vehicles and products for halogen lamps in these plants.
"If you look at the global business setting, the Belt and Road Initiative is a great opportunity to enlarge our sales channels," said Brunner. "It will not only boost the size of the automobile market in China, but also help ship more products to various destinations throughout the world."
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives were proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the purpose of rejuvenating the two ancient trading routes and further opening up markets for Chinese companies.
As a major supplier of lighting components to the general illumination, automotive and consumer electronics markets, the company has operations in more than 30 countries and has about 8,300 employees worldwide. Sales totaled $2 billion in 2014.
Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Beijing-based Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Chinese LED industry, which has long been hampered by a lack of patents, may have reached a turning point. LED lamps last several times as incandescent lamps or most fluorescent bulbs. They are also more efficient.
"The acquisition represents a significant deal in terms of the strategic transformation of traditional Chinese industries as well as for China's energy-conservation and emissions-cutting targets," said Zhao.
Brunner said the company will continue to seize opportunities that arise from China's industrial upgrading and urbanization. The nation's new focus is on quality urban development, as well as green, low-carbon and sustainable growth such as promoting the use of new-energy vehicles and energy-saving automobile products.
Alternative-fuel vehicle production in the first quarter of 2015 tripled year-on-year to 25,400 units, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Lumileds started operations in China in 1995 and has built up partnerships with Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Toyota Motor Corp and Hyundai Motor Co. It also has close cooperation with Great Wall Motors Co Ltd, SAIC Motor Corp Ltd and First Automotive Works Co.
"We're not just looking at China's new vehicle market, but also the nation's used car market as it has a huge demand for after-sales service ... as well as expanding our dealerships in more second-and third-tier cities and building an e-commerce trading platform to diversify our sales channels," said Brunner.
"As China is moving up the value chain amid the 'new normal' of slower growth of better quality, both domestic and foreign investment in green-energy and advanced products will benefit the economy and the environment in the long term," said Sun Fuquan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development in Beijing.
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Market heats up for e-cigarettes, largely produced in China, as US scrutiny rises (2015-06-11,China Daily)
While China has taken steps to reduce widespread cigarette smoking, it is also the source of most electronic cigarettes, an expanding global market for which a US senator has called for more oversight.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, in a letter on Monday to Meredith Broadbent, chairwoman of the US International Trade Commission (ITC), called for more statistical reporting on e-cigarette products with an eye toward future regulation.
Wyden, writing on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee, said e-cigarettes were a $2.5 billion market in the United States in 2014, according to a US General Accountability Office report.
The GAO report, citing industry experts, said that China, where the e-cigarette was invented, is the source of more than 90 percent of e-cigarette products.
"Although the health risks of these products are not fully known, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned of their use," Wyden wrote. He said that the FDA wants to classify e-cigarettes and liquids as tobacco products.
"Currently, because they are not a traditional tobacco product, e-cigarettes and liquids can be sold without restriction to vulnerable segments of the population," Wyden wrote.
The CDC recently reported that use among US middle and high school students jumped from 4.5 percent of students in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014.
About 10 percent of US adults now "vape", the term for e-cigarette use, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from May 19 to June 4. The poll found that almost 70 percent of users started in the last year, with about three quarters also smoking cigarettes.
The senator said that "the full extent of imports of e-cigarette and related liquids is unknown because these products, as well as e-cigarette components and intermediate chemicals used to manufacture nicotine-containing liquids, are not currently tracked under any regulatory or revenues system".
He said the products are "imported under broad basket categories where e-cigarettes are included with electrical equipment such as strobe lights and hand-held calorie counters".
Wyden wrote that he wants the ITC's Committee for Statistical Annotation of Tariff Schedules to adopt data for e-cigarette products.
Hon Lik, a pharmacist in China and once a heavy tobacco smoker, is considered the father of the e-cigarette.
Hon's path to creating the e-cigarette started after a night of bad dreams, he told the British newspaper The Guardian. When he awoke, Hon, who had been trying to kick his heavy smoking habit, realized he had been wearing his nicotine patch. He concluded that the best way to get nicotine was through some form of smoking.
In 2003, Hon created an electric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine, producing a smokelike vapor that contains nicotine.
Hon filed the first patent for the device in China in 2003, and the first e-cigarette was made that year in Beijing. It didn't have the vaporization system used today, but was based on atomization, which can vaporize liquids through the heat produced by a battery's electricity. Most e-cigarettes today use a battery-powered heating element.
"I believed [then] that if I could use vapor to simulate cigarette smoke, this could help me," Hon, who lost his father to lung cancer in 2004, told Reuters on Tuesday.
Hon, 59, works for one of the e-cigarette industry¡¯s biggest players, Imperial Tobacco Group, based in Bristol, England, after its purchase in 2013 of his patents for $75 million, although he received only a fraction of the money, he told The Guardian.
The patents were held by Dragonite, a Hong Kong company that Hon set up with a Chinese investor. He now works for Fontem Ventures, Imperial's subsidiary in the Netherlands.
Imperial, the world's fourth-largest tobacco company, has purchased the Blu brand of e-cigarettes from Reynolds American Inc, a US tobacco holding company, in a deal expected to close this week. Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco also are rushing to enter the market, which could top $7 billion this year.
"E-cigarettes are a consumer-driven revolution," Hon told Reuters. "When automotive manufacturers first started out, they were not thinking about a sport to be called Formula One. You always have groups of people who are looking for excitement."
The market for e-cigarettes in China in small, as tobacco is dominant. China is the world's top consumer of tobacco, a market dominated by state-owned China National Tobacco, which accounts for an estimated 10 percent of government revenue.
Hon told Reuters that more people in Beijing could start vaping, due to the June 1 implementation of strict rules on smoking in public. The fine for smoking in hospitals, schools, hotels and restaurants is 200 yuan ($32.25).
Hon said smaller cities in China could follow Beijing's lead as the government emphasizes public health.
"I understand the market is slowly changing," said Hon, who said that he smokes tobacco only when his job requires him to compare flavors of various tobaccos and vapes.
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While nation excels in creation and filing of patents, it is falling short in its law enforcement (2015-06-10,China Daily)
The State Intellectual Property Office released a comprehensive report in Beijing on Thursday on the latest development trends in China's intellectual property sector.
The report analyzes trends from 2010 to 2014 in IP creation, utilization, protection and environment.
"China posted a continuous, steady growth in IP creation, utilization, protection and environment over the past five years," said Han Xiucheng, director of SIPO's Intellectual Property Development and Research Center, which was tasked with compiling the report.
SIPO received 928,000 applications for invention patents in 2014, a 12.5 percent rise from a year ago. International filings through the Patent Cooperation Treaty increased 14.2 percent to 26,000 last year.
Trademark applications surpassed 2.88 million, an increase of 21.5 percent over 2013, copyright registrations reached 992,000 and more than 2,000 applications for new plant varieties were filed in 2014.
But while the growing numbers are impressive, improving IP quality is just as significant and requires more joint efforts, Han said.
Patents, for example, involve high-level inventions, professional documentation by agencies, efficiency in the processing of filings, sound market competition and public respect, he explained.
The growing number of IP creations has brought about a boom in IP-collateralized loans.
Patent-collateralized loans surged 92.6 percent to 48.9 billion yuan ($7.88 billion) nationwide last year, while trademark-collateralized loans reached 51.9 billion yuan, up 29 percent year-on year.
While three IP-dedicated courts opened in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in 2014, administrative enforcement officials increased their protection efforts. They investigated more than 94,000 IP infringement complaints across the country, about 24,000 of them related to patents and 67,400 of them involving trademark disputes.
Guangdong topped all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland in terms of its IP comprehensive development index, a measure of how the IP sector is expanding in each region.
Beijing ranked second in the rankings and Shanghai took third, followed by Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.
The top five rated regions are all situated in the eastern part of the country and scored more than 80 out of 100.
The report said the country shows a marked difference between its eastern and western regions in IP development because of a development imbalance in local economies, market growth and the uneven distribution of industries.
Of 12 western provinces, autonomous regions and a municipality, four were above the benchmark score of 60.
For the first time, the report added international comparisons in its analysis, Han said, to cover Singapore, 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
The countries together contributed to more than 98 percent of global R&D expenditure and at least 89 percent of invention patent filings worldwide. Their combined GDP accounted for approximately 88 percent of the world's total.
The report focused on analyzing IP capacity, performance and environment of sample countries through such details as IP creation, utilization, protection, management, domestic innovation's contribution, international influence and market and cultural environments.
The United States topped the international ranking, closely followed by Japan. The two nations outdistanced their followers.
China improved its ranking from 10th in 2012 to ninth in 2013, according to the report.
While China came third in IP capacity and performance, after the US and Japan, its position dropped considerably for its IP environment, ranging in rank from 28th to 30th place from 2008 to 2013.
"It reflects that there is still a long, tough path ahead to improve the IP environment," Han said, adding that enhanced enforcement is the key.
"The State Council has made it a clear goal to build our country into a strong IP powerhouse in a plan for further advancing national IP strategy released earlier this year, which signalizes a stage for the strategy implementation," he said.
"Under such a backdrop, the report will provide a helpful reference for realizing the goal," he added.
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Profile of Shenzhen: An Innovative International City (2015-06-10,People's Daily)
Leading enterprises including Huawei, ZTE, and the internet giant Tencent have become the standard-bearers for Shenzhen, alongside emerging innovative small and medium sized enterprises. Shenzhen, China¡¯s first and one of the most successful Special Economic Zones is heading in the direction of an international innovative city.
More than 30 high-tech, high-value-added and high growth enterprises will settle in a high-tech park in Shenzhen.
Songgang District, the location of the high-tech park in northwestern Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, used to be filled with traditional manufacturing industry, surrounded by polluted water and unpleasant discharges.
According to Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen, innovation contributes to the stable economic growth and sustainable development of Songgang District. Shenzhen has maintained an average growth rate of 10.3 per cent for many years. GDP in 2014 in Shenzhen was more than 1.6 trillion yuan, 9 per cent higher than 2013. Shenzhen's GDP has doubled in five years.
Six strategic emerging industries, including biotechnology, internet, new energy, new materials, creative culture and new generation information technology, have witnessed a growth of 20 per cent. Shenzhen's air quality ranks fourth of 74 major cities in China, following Haikou, Zhoushan and Lhasa.
Innovation expenditure in 2014 was more than 64 billion yuan, accounting for over 4 per cent of GDP. Applications for international patents surpass those of France.
Shenzhen municipal government focuses on future industries including life and health, maritime economy, aviation, smart devices, robots and wearable devices.
"Shenzhen has a high capacity for self-innovation after 35 years of reform and development, and we will never rest on our laurels," says Ma Xingrui, Deputy Secretary-General of CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and Secretary-General of CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee. Ma aims to transform Shenzhen into an international modern innovative city.
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Regulators target 'abuse' of IPR (2015-06-05,People's Daily)
The National Development and Reform Commission, one of the three agencies that deal with antitrust activity and investigations, is drawing up guidelines covering monopolistic conduct and the abuse of intellectual property rights, an official involved in the effort said on Thursday.
The Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council, the top antitrust supervisor, has ordered the NDRC to draw up the draft guidelines within one year, said the official, who attended the first preparatory meeting held on Wednesday.
The guidelines will affect IPR products and service providers, a broad group that includes the information technology and telecommunications industries, the medical sector, vehicles, machinery and seeds for the agriculture sector and other technology-intensive activities.
In April, the State Administration of Industry of Commerce, one of the three regulators, announced a set of rules collectively called the Prohibition of Abuse of IPR to Eliminate or Restrict Competition, which will take effect on Aug 1.
China's Anti-Monopoly Law is enforced by three agencies: the Ministry of Commerce handles merger provisions and the SAIC focuses on non-price-related activity, while the NDRC takes on pricing monopolies.
The NDRC's guidelines will carry the authority of the cabinet's Anti-Monopoly Committee, which will represent the three antitrust regulators. The SAIC's new rules will serve as the basis for those guidelines, said the NDRC official who requested anonymity.
"Patent protection is important for promoting innovation, but the abusive use of IPR is rampant worldwide. Meanwhile, excessive antitrust enforcement may also hurt innovation. It's important to strike a balance," he said.
Jessica Su, an antitrust scholar and associate professor at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the SAIC's rules address only the non-price-related abuse of IPR.
The NDRC's guidelines are expected to cover three major types of monopolistic conduct: IPR-related monopoly agreements, abuse of dominant market positions and business concentration. The latter occurs when a few companies overwhelmingly dominate an industry or activity.
China has stepped up its antitrust law enforcement in the past two years and many of the cases have been related to the abuse of IPR. The NDRC has been actively investigating antitrust cases in the IPR field over the past few years, including the investigations into InterDigital Inc and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. The SAIC's antitrust investigations into Microsoft Corp also fall into this category.
Steve Harris, Washington-based partner of Winston & Strawn LLP, a global law firm, said that the intersection of antitrust regulations and IPR is a complex and controversial issue, not only in China but around the world.
According to Harris, the SAIC rules are in some ways consistent with the approaches taken to certain issues by antitrust agencies in some other large economies, but in a number of important respects, the rules differ in ways that raise serious concerns about the extent to which China's Anti-Monopoly Law may be used to lessen protections that patents and other IPR receive in most leading jurisdictions.
Antitrust laws have been implemented for many years in developed countries, and regulators in China could use other countries' experience as a guide, said Su.
As for the issue of multiple regulators, Zhu Jingwen, a Hong-Kong based partner of Winston & Strawn, said: "The jurisdiction issue once again goes back to the long-debated question of whether China's three antitrust enforcement agencies should merge into a single agency that would apply a singe uniform set of rules."
Nissan-Dongfeng JV 'facing penalties'
Nissan Motor Corp's joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp is facing an antitrust investigation and penalties are likely to be announced soon, according to sources close to the issue.
The National Development and Reform Commission's antitrust probe into the joint venture is in its final stages, two industry sources familiar with the case told China Daily.
An official with the NDRC declined to comment. But the official said that the NDRC will draw up guidelines to promote fair competition in the vehicle industry, based on the Anti-Monopoly Law.
The agency has done some research, but formulation of the guidelines has yet to start.
Deng Zhisong, an antitrust attorney with the Beijing-based Dacheng Law Office, said this document will constitute China's first industry-specific antitrust guidelines.
"Once the guidelines take effect, they could cause disruptive changes to the industry's business model," said Deng, but customers will benefit from increased competition and lower prices.
Since September, a number of global automakers and their dealers in China have been fined by the NDRC for fixing the prices of vehicles and replacement parts.
In the new-car and after-sales markets, the conduct of international automakers has frequently violated the nation's antitrust law, including its provisions on price-fixing, territorial restrictions and customer restrictions, said experts.
The latest case was Mercedes-Benz, a luxury car unit of Daimler AG, which was fined 350 million yuan ($57.1 million), a record for an individual vehicle company in China.
The NDRC fined FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd 249 million yuan and it also fined eight Audi dealerships a total of 29 million yuan in September.
The China unit of Chrysler Group LLC was fined 32 million yuan and three of its dealerships were fined a combined 2 million yuan.
In August, 12 Japanese auto suppliers were fined a total of 1.24 billion yuan for manipulating prices.
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China's international patent applications continue to grow in 2014 (2015-06-04,Xinhua)
China's international patent applications grew to 25,500 cases in 2014, up 18.7 percent year on year, according to a report released by the country's intellectual property watchdog on Thursday.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty, is a major channel for Chinese applicants to seek international recognition.
High application fees are considered to be the top concern for most Chineses PCT applicants, while unfamiliarity with foreign laws and application procedure also hampered their patent internationalization efforts, according to the annual report released by the State Intellectual Property Office.
Chinese PCT applicants called for lower application cost, streamlined procedures and quicker access to patent approval, the report said.
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China's intellectual property development improves in 2014 (2015-06-04,Xinhua)
China's intellectual property (IP)development continued to improve in 2014, according to a report released by the country's intellectual property watchdog on Thursday.
The index for the country's IP development, based on the evaluation of IP creation, utilization, protection, as well as the environment of IP development, stands at 63.74 points in 2014, up 0.98 points year on year, according to the annual report released by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).
The development of intellectual property saw obvious imbalances among provincial regions, with Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu standing out.
China's IP development performance ranked 9th in 2013 from 19th in 2008 among 40 countries, with remarkable progress in IP development capability and performance, the report said.
However, China still lags behind developed countries such as the United States and Japan in intellectual property protection (IPR), according to Han Xiucheng, head of a research center with SIPO.
The main reason is the unsound market and cultural environment for IPR, Han added.
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Phone firms dial into smarter world (2015-05-29,China Daily)
Chinese manufacturers aim to take a bite out of Apple, at home and abroad
For Zhou Hongyi, China's smartphone market is like "an ocean of blood", and yet it is an ocean he is happy to dive into. "I'm getting into this because I believe you can shake up any market, and those at the top cannot stay there forever," says Zhou, founder and CEO of Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd.
Zhou was speaking at a news conference on May 6 at which Qiku, his smartphone brand, was unveiled.
Global smartphone shipments surpassed 1 billion units last year, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent, according to market researchers International Data Corp. It is expected China's shipments alone will reach 360 million this year.
China is a key market for smartphone companies worldwide, not only because the country has 1.3 billion potential customers, but also because it dominates global smartphone manufacturing.
With a share of such a massive pie up for grabs, unconventional players such as Qihoo 360 Technology are going up against more-established companies by launching their own mobile devices.
Zhou has promised that his "exquisite" handsets will beat rivals on both quality and price.
The 45-year-old, who headed Yahoo China in the early 2000s, defeated Internet security firms that charged customers royalties by introducing free anti-virus software products about a decade ago. Qihoo 360 accounts for the lion's share of the for-private-use, free online security market.
Qiku is a joint venture with Coolpad, already a major contract smartphone maker in China, and is expected to unveil three handsets running on an Android operating system in June.
"Our device could easily sell at 5,000 yuan ($800; 730 euros), but we will offer buyers a remarkably lower price," Zhou said, without elaborating on the products.
Gree Technology, one of China's largest home appliance producers, has already released its smartphone, part of a strategy to enter the smart home market and the Internet of Things sphere.
"Our first phone has gained two key official licenses," its president, Dong Mingzhu, said. "Customers can use Gree phones to control wirelessly connected household appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens and televisions, making their lives more convenient."
Internet companies, including Tencent, are also keen to cater to China's growing legion of mobile users, estimated at 557 million. At the recent Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, the company launched an operating system for smartphones and smart watches.
Ren Yuxin, the chief operating officer, said the system, TencentOS, will improve the experience on social networking apps and allow users to enjoy high-quality services from different smart devices.
Alibaba Group, another Internet giant, also has an operating system, Yun OS, and in February bought a minority stake in smartphone manufacturer Meizu Technology.
After six years of rapid growth in the demand for mobile handsets, competition is now fierce, according to an IDC report on May 11.
About 98.8 million devices entered the Chinese mainland market from January to March, down from more than 103 million during the same period a year earlier, the report said. The 4.3 percent decrease was the first since 2009, the so-called dawn of the smartphone era.
Apple Inc, Xiaomi Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd were the top three vendors in the first three months in terms of shipments, accounting for more than 39 million devices during the period, almost 40 percent of the market share, the report said.
Antonio Wang, an analyst for IDC, says shipments could continue to drop over the coming quarters due to weak demand. "The number of first-time buyers has slumped because the penetration rate is extremely high," he says.
Hours after IDC warned of the potential trend, Apple CEO Tim Cook created an account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like service, hoping to attract Apple fans. The account gained about 200,000 followers in the first hour.
Apple is facing the strongest challenge in China, as Xiaomi and Lenovo Group Ltd are fast encroaching into the United States company's high-end user base. The two companies, along with Apple and Samsung Electronics Co, have all claimed pole position in the IDC rankings over the past five quarters, more evidence that the country's smartphone market is a battlefield for vendors.
An array of vendors, including Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo, are also battling it out in the market for mobile devices costing up to 3,000 yuan.
"With more outsiders entering the game, competition has got more fierce, so overseas manufacturers will need to find a unique feature to attract Chinese buyers," says Wang Jingwen, an analyst with Canalys China in Shanghai.
According to Analysys International, Apple's market share was just a single digit last year, although that is largely because it targets mid- and high-end buyers.
"The mobile market in China is heavily contested, and local vendors are quickly gaining market share," Wang at Canalys China says, adding that Chinese brands have dominated the mid-range and budget markets.
Some manufacturers are challenging Apple in the high-end market, too, by offering quality products at more affordable prices.
China's largest smartphone producer, Xiaomi, which has been running for four years, sells its entry-level product, Mi Note, which has a 5.7-inch (14.5 cm) screen, for 2,299 yuan. By contrast, the iPhone 6 Plus, equipped with a 5.5-inch screen, sells for more than 6,000 yuan.
However, Wang at Canalys China says price is no longer the main focus for Chinese buyers. "As expectations increase in line with spending power, combined with rising market saturation, there is a major shift to devices that provide better user experience," she says.
Chinese smartphone producers are latecomers to the market compared with Apple and Sumsung, yet they are eager to build their legend through innovation and design, as well as price.
Lei Jun, co-founder and CEO of Xiaomi, says his company's success is based on in-house innovation and a unique relationship with its customers. Xiaomi sold 61.12 million smartphones last year, up 227 percent on 2013, and most purchases were made in China.
The company will "consistently focus on" product innovation and strive to produce high-quality, high-performance devices that ensure great user experience, Lei says. "We have to outperform Apple in some areas. It represents the rising power of Chinese innovation and creativity."
At Xiaomi's development center in a northern suburb of Beijing, 1,800 developers, many aged about 30, have been busy updating the MIUI, an intricately tailored Android operating system for its mobile devices, Lei says.
Eric Chen, who is starting his second year at Xiaomi as a software engineer, says he is excited to be working on one of the most talked-about smartphones in the industry.
"It makes no difference for me to work for a local company or a foreign one," says Chen, who previously worked for a major overseas brand. "The salary is OK here. As long as the company is passionate about new ideas, it is a good place to work for an engineer. I like working for a startup company rather than at (a large company such as) Apple."
Lei says his company will introduce more products that use top-tier technologies and are available at low prices. "We value innovation," he says. "Xiaomi will have tens of thousands of patents in 10 years' time."
The biggest innovation breakthrough has come in software and user experience, he says. The MIUI can automatically block scam calls while putting through calls from delivery services using a constantly updated phone number database. Xiaomi is also building deeply localized services in China, including free Wi-Fi connections in at least 50,000 restaurants and railway stations.
Tian Zheng, a senior analyst at Analysys International, says Xiaomi's ambitious attempt to build a wider ecosystem in online media, smart homes and other markets is what makes the company stand out. The company has overtaken Samsung to become the top smartphone maker in China, in terms of shipments, at the end of last year, he says.
Another major domestic smartphone producer, Huawei Technology, also contributes its success to innovation. The company, once an obscure electronics plant with a registered capital of 21,000 yuan, is now a global giant that generates more than $46 billion in annual sales.
Executives at Huawei say the company's many years of investment in research and development is finally paying off. The company entered the foreign market 16 years ago and in 2010 restructured its business units to improve its global business.
"We have 16 research centers globally, so we can take advantage of more international talent to upgrade our products," says Guo Ping, chief executive of Huawei. "We hired Russians to write algorithms, French experts in product design, and Japanese scientists to develop new materials.
"Each year we have more than 10,000 graduates joining us as engineers... They will safeguard our competitiveness in the global market."
Huawei is also taking advantage of its relationship with carriers to launch smartphones. In the past year its flagship handset, Mate 7, has been in short supply amid huge demand, quite an achievement given the tough competition.
The company has ambitious goals in the consumer electronics sector - it unveiled its first smartWatch in March, taking on the Apple Watch - and is aiming for a bigger presence in developed markets where profit margins could be higher.
Chinese manufacturers are not only confining themselves to the domestic market. They plan to sell their products abroad to boost demand and profits, to offset rising labor costs and slow sales growth in China.
Companies such as Xiaomi have already started with overseas sales, primarily aiming at emerging economies in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The major players even have plans for the US market, despite Apple's dominance, as it offers the highest average profit margins. Xiaomi, which already sells its accessories there, is mulling such a move.
However, Wang at Canalys China warns that it will not be easy. "In developed markets, (Chinese) vendors will find it even harder to build brand awareness," she says. "Most consumers already use smartphones made by the big players such as Apple and Samsung. The operators usually set higher standards for smartphone products."
Cheng Lixin, senior vice-president of telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp, says he has high hopes for its products in the US. "We aim to be one of the top three global smartphone vendors in the world's most competitive market within three years."
That goal is considered aggressive even by the standards of world-famous brands such as Google and Microsoft. However, Cheng, who is in charge of North American operations, says he believes ZTE's strengths in innovation, executing brand campaigns and an "affordable premium" customer strategy all make the target achievable.
"As the world's most important (telecom) market, the US is also a vibrant place for marketing and handset development," he says. "Success in the US will help us explore other markets."
The plan is to impress US customers with high-quality, low-price devices, he says. "Because ZTE is rolling out high-performance handsets at relatively low prices, buyers in the US do not need to pay $500 or even $300 for a smartphone with high performance."
ZTE has invested heavily in the US in recent years, setting up five research centers and recruiting more than 300 employees, about 80 percent of them local. "Only a truly localized company will have a chance to succeed in the US," Cheng says.
According to Strategy Analytics, the US was the best-performing overseas market for ZTE last year. Shipments of its devices rose in the high double digits, even as competitors' shipments were flat or lower, the research firm said. ZTE had 20 million active users in the US as of Dec 31.
Like Samsung, ZTE provides low-end and high-end devices in the US, offering 69 models in total.
Last year, higher sales of 4G network equipment and smartphones lifted the company's global net profit by 94 percent to 2.63 billion yuan. In the smartphone sector, the company shipped 48 million devices, with 70 percent sold outside the Chinese mainland.
Bryan Wang, China director of Forrester Research, says the US is one of the most difficult markets for any emerging player. "About 90 percent of phones (in the US) are sold via carrier channels, so a deep and healthy relationship with the carriers is vital."
As pre-paid and contract phones are sold in partnership with carriers in the US, ZTE said it is already taking advantage of its deep ties with companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile to sell devices.
"We always produce above-standard devices with highly functional features," Cheng says. "After working together for more than a decade, the carriers trust our capabilities in research and development."
Oppo Electronics Corp is also one of the companies aiming at the global market.
"Oppo operates in 22 countries, including China," says Sky Li, vice-president and managing director of international mobile business. "The Southeast Asia region is our first overseas market, and it is the market where we first started our overseas expansion. In 2009, we started selling our products in Thailand. And that helped us accumulate experience to work in other foreign markets."
The company sold 30 million units of smartphones last year, and this year expects the figure to reach 45 million, he says.
Some Oppo products are sold in Europe and the US through e-commerce platforms, but Li says the company has no specific timeline to properly enter those markets.
"We try to understand the different demands our global customers might have. So we rely on localization to develop new products."
Yan Zhanmeng, a senior analyst at IDC China's cellphone market research department, says: "It is likely that in about five years, some big domestic brands such as Huawei can develop into a global brand that can challenge Samsung and Apple."
Yan says Chinese smartphone makers enjoy the advantage of having strong supplying chains, and China also has some strong manufacturing centers as Shenzhen, which can support the development of local smartphone manufacturers.
But there are also some challenges for the Chinese smartphone manufacturers. "Chinese smartphone manufacturers still lack core technologies such as some core chips and high-end screens," says Yan.
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Patent filers see great things from IP's 'Big Five' (2015-05-27,China Daily)
As the world's five largest intellectual property offices increase cooperation to improve their services, the business community expects greater benefits from their collaboration, said executives at a three-day, IP-themed meeting last week in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.
Last week, senior IP officials from China, the European Union, South Korea, Japan and the United States, collectively known in the industry as IP5, gathered at the Suzhou National New and High-Tech Industrial Development Zone to advance possible solutions to the duplication of work among the offices, improve the efficiency and quality of patent examinations, and guarantee the stability of patent rights. The meeting lasted from May 20 to 22.
"Their increased cooperation helps offer better services for international patent filers, whether they are big or small businesses," said Fan Zhiyong, vice-president of IP strategy at Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a telecommunication giant with an international outreach.
Zheng Yongfeng, general counsel of Tasly Holding Group, a high-tech company in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, said he hopes the offices can further simplify processing procedures and reduce the duplication of work, which in turn will lead to a substantial reduction in costs for overseas applications.
"They have already done a good job with the Patent Prosecution Highway," said Zheng, referring to a program that enables each participating patent office to benefit from work previously done by foreign peers and provides accelerated patent prosecution procedures through the sharing of information.
"Trust in the quality of patent examinations from other offices is the basis for the sharing of information," said Feng Xiaobing, deputy director of the patent examination department at the State Intellectual Property Office, at a business community meeting on May 21.
To create a more user-friendly environment and promote participation in the expanded PPH network, China has launched a common request form for patent filers.
To date, 13 IP offices worldwide have adopted the request form, including two IP5 members - the European Patent Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office, said Zhang Peng, deputy director general of SIPO's International Cooperation Department.
South Korea, Canada, Denmark and Britain agreed this year to use the common request form, while the Japan Patent Office plans to adopt it after its IT system is prepared.
Tasly's General Counsel Zheng said he also expected the five major IP offices to advance other cooperative projects, such as the Global Dossier, a free online file inspection service that EPO and SIPO began offering in 2014. It enables direct access to SIPO's publicly available documents on the EPO website.
Patent data from Japan and South Korea were added to the service system in April.
"We will have American data by the end of next month," said EPO President Benoit Battistelli.
At the end of last year, SIPO launched an online patent information system to offer free downloads of patent documents stockpiled at the five offices.
Battistelli said he is optimistic about cooperation among the five offices.
"It started only a few years ago. We've already achieved a lot of progress and achievements."
SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu told China Daily, "The patent system plays an instrumental role in motivating innovation. Hosting the IP5 meeting provides opportunities for multifaceted exchanges and helps fuel the growth of inventions in our country."
"We can learn about the latest developments in other IP offices and their expertise in patent protection, utilization and management at the meeting."
SIPO data shows that Japan ranked first in terms of overseas patent applications filed with the office in 2014, with the US taking second and Germany third, followed by South Korea and France. They contributed 82 percent of total overseas filings processed by SIPO last year.
On May 22, IP5 officials signed a joint statement to emphasize the importance of satisfying users' needs, especially from small businesses and individuals, Shen said.
Its influence can go beyond the IP5 group and help boost the development of the entire IP industry, he said.
"I believe we will develop increasingly closer ties for more effective cooperation."
John Sandage, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, said IP5 represent 85 percent of international patent applications filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty worldwide every year,
"So it is a hugely important constituency for us."
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Counterfeit products put Alibaba in the dock (2015-05-22,China Daily)
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on May 18 said the allegations made by leading global luxury retailers that it had turned a blind eye to counterfeiters had "absolutely no basis" and that it would fight the lawsuit filed against it in a New York court.
Industry sources said taking on counterfeits will be a tough and long-term effort for Alibaba, as the Hangzhou-based company looks for growth in overseas markets.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York by Kering SA, the owner of luxury brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, on May 15. It alleged that Alibaba had conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing their trademarks without permission, said a Reuters report.
"We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so."
"Unfortunately, Kering has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation," Alibaba said in a statement, vowing to fight the charges "vigorously".
Kering said the lawsuit was a part of the group's ongoing global efforts to maintain its customers' trust in genuine products.
"It takes equally seriously obligation to protect its customers from being defrauded by counterfeiters selling goods of inferior quality," a Kering official said.
Neil Flynn, a portfolio manager at Alcuinn Asset Management LLP who is based in Shanghai, said Alibaba should not allow counterfeiters to sabotage its overseas expansion strategy.
"When a huge company enters a new market, reputation is vital, and news about lawsuits regarding counterfeit products can damage its reputation," Flynn said.
It is the second time in less than a year that Kering is suing Alibaba over the alleged sale of fake goods. Alibaba and Kering reached a resolution on a suit filed in July 2014.
The counterfeit problem is also prompting some partners of Alibaba to move to other platforms.
On May 13, Sephora, a global beauty retailer owned by LVMH Group - the world's largest luxury goods company - set up its first online store on JD.com Inc, one of the major rivals of Alibaba.
The good reputation of JD.com was one of the main reasons why Sephora chose to be part of the platform, according to Helen Zhou, vice-president of Sephora China. "We noticed JD.com's efforts to insist on selling certified goods," Zhou said.
Flynn from Alcuinn Asset Management said Alibaba has to show more determination that it is fighting the issue seriously.
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Chinese companies eye U.S. wind market (2015-05-21,Xinhua)
"After completing the construction of 14 wind turbines this year, Haizhuang plans to build 25 to 50 turbines in the United States next year," said Yang Benxin, chairman of CSIC (Chongqing) Haizhuang Windpower Equipment at the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exhibition.
WINDPOWER 2015, the largest annual wind energy trade show in the western hemisphere, attracts about 400 exhibitors this year, including wind major energy companies like Vestas, General Electric (GE) and Siemens. Several Chinese companies has also set up booths introducing their companies while meeting potential clients.
"We have attended this exhibition several years now but this is the first time we rent a booth, as we are building 14 wind turbines in the state of Iowa. We need to make a debut here," Yang told Xinhua at the company's booth.
Haizhuang is a top 10 Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. It entered the U.S. wind power market in 2012, building two prototype wind turbines of 2 MW each in Iowa, to tap the U.S. market.
"That two prototype turbines have been running very well in the last three years. Through these, we test our technology and learn the operation and management of the U.S. wind power market, as well as its requirements on environmental protection, land use and grid access," Yang said.
The United States is the world's second largest wind market after China in installation capacity and the U.S. market is fully developed with considerable profits, which is attractive for Chinese companies.
Since Chinese companies have just started to enter this market and occupied less than 1 percent of total market share, there is still room for them to develop in the U.S..
Goldwind, the world's second largest wind turbines suppler based in Xinjiang, China, came to the U.S. in 2010. After five years of development, it has built about 100 wind turbines in the vast country.
"For a new company in the United States, this performance is quite good," David Halligan, CEO of Goldwind USA, told Xinhua at the exhibition.
Halligan said it still needs time to educate customers to accept the permanent magnet direct-drive technology that Goldwind uses in manufacturing wind turbines and the U.S. market is very competitive, dominated by GE, Siemens and some other big wind enterprises.
Having the ambition to further explore the U.S. market, Yang said he wanted to do it step by step considering the difference between China and U.S. market. "First prototype, then small quantities, finally mass quantity supplier is the way we choose," he said.
Yang also wants to introduce local investors to share building cost of wind turbines if they can get more orders in the U.S. in the future.
Ming Lin, deputy manager of Market Development Center of Guodian United Power, China's second largest wind turbine producer, told Xinhua that patent is a critical element for Chinese companies to watch out in the U.S. market. "Our wind turbine is developed based on double fed technology, similar to that of GE, which owns quite a lot of patents in this area. If we can expand our share in the U.S. market in the future, we need to study the patent issue," he said.
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'Big Five' aim to boost efficiency (2015-05-20,China Daily)
The heads of the world's five largest intellectual property offices are meeting in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Wednesday to explore further increasing the efficiency of their work.
The State Intellectual Property Office of China, European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office and United States Patent and Trademark Office between them handle about 80 percent of the world's patent applications.
The meeting is designed to take stock of the unnecessary duplication of work among the offices, improve the efficiency and quality of patent examinations, and guarantee the stability of patent rights.
This year, the five offices are expected to sign an agreement on providing better services to the public, especially to small businesses and individual users, in a bid to reinforce IP's role in innovation-driven development, according to the meeting organizers.
The five major IP powerhouses have conducted "fruitful" cooperation over the past eight years, improving the convenience, quality and efficiency of patent filings and related information sharing and use.
Their partnership has focused on users' needs since interaction with representatives of the business communities in the five regions was added to the IP meeting in 2012.
This year, the delegates are discussing a wide range of issues, including quality control in processing patent filings, statistics, automation and patent documentation.
The State Intellectual Property Office of China will also release an online patent examination system at this year's event that will use cloud-computing technologies to handle filings.
"It is encouraging that the meeting is taking place in one of the most vibrant cities in China - Suzhou, Jiangsu province," Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a written interview.
He suggested that the IP "Big Five" should seek to harmonize international patent law between them, adding that China can fuel its ambitious "Made in China 2025' and "Internet Plus" agendas through active participation in the meeting.
The "Internet Plus" and "Made in China 2025" are two of China's major development strategies aimed at improving the economy and upgrading industrial development with advanced technologies.
"China also needs to move beyond legislation," Wuttke said. "The EU business community in China expects a robust implementation of the country's IP laws."
Fan Zhiyong, vice-president of IP strategy at Huawei, a leading Chinese telecommunications giant, said he expects increased cooperation between the five offices especially for transnational patent filings.
Other Chinese corporate executives participating in the event voiced their concerns about the repetition in procedures required by the different offices.
"If they could streamline the processing procedures and reduce repetitive work, the costs of international filings would drop a lot," Zheng Yongfeng, general counsel of Tasly Holding Group, a high-tech company involved in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, said.
"The issue is still under discussion, and I hope the discussions will produce concrete results," he added.
Li Yingyan, a senior patent attorney at Lung Tin IP Agent Ltd, said a growing number of Chinese filers are exploring the US, EU, South Korean and Japanese markets and the procedure issue is of great importance to these adventurers abroad.
Zhang Qichen, IP manager at ZTE Corp, another leader in the telecommunications sector in China, said he hoped the meeting will provide more cases for business representatives to learn about different systems overseas.
Zhang's colleague Zhou Xianyan, said while the rules in the intellectual property sphere were formulated by developed countries, opinions from China are gaining more attention.
Sun Bin, director of patent at BOE technology Group, said China now has a greater voice in the international IP landscape, and the meeting helps the different parties involved seek mutually beneficial solutions.
Wang Huan, senior patent counsel of the IP Department at Tencent, one of China's most popular Internet service portals, said exchanging views with the representatives of other Chinese companies at the meeting will help inspire future innovations by the company.
This is the second time the "Five Heads" meeting has taken place in China, after the first was held in Guilin, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in 2010.
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Ministry unveils blueprint to boost manufacturing (2015-05-20,People's Daily)
China announced an ambitious plan on Tuesday to encourage innovation and boost the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector.
The plan, "Made in China 2025", will have a far-reaching influence on the nation's manufacturing strategy over the next decade by shaping the technology development path and future strengths of Chinese companies.
It is also the first phase of an ambitious 30-year goal that is under the direct supervision of Premier Li Keqiang.
Ten sectors, including machinery manufacturing, biotech and information technology, will be the first to benefit from the plan, according to the strategy drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and approved by the State Council. The plan includes setting up several innovation centers and IT facilities to boost manufacturing.
The investment in strategically important industries will help improve the level of China's manufacturing and competitiveness in the global market, said Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology.
"It is a crystal clear goal for us. We are trying to push China from being the largest to being one of the strongest," Miao said, adding the "low-end" tag attached to most of the products made in the country does not bode well for long-term development.
"'Made in China 2025' is designed to make some breakthroughs in bottleneck areas so that the country can play an even more important role in the global manufacturing chain," he said.
One of the key bottlenecks the industry is facing is in the manufacture of high-end microchips.
China spent $210 billion last year on importing integrated circuits, more than was spent on buying oil around the globe, according to ministry data.
Microchips are critical components for electronic devices such as computers, smartphones and televisions.
"With overseas firms controlling most of the high-end microchip exports to China, we realized that it is important to develop our own microchips to avoid bottlenecks for the IT industry," Miao said.
The plan has been welcomed by domestic chipmakers such as Huawei Technologies and MediaTek, both of which anticipate increased business after it is implemented.
Last year, the country set up a 120 billion yuan ($19 billion) investment fund to support the development of microchips, leading to a rush of applications for funding from homegrown companies.
Other industry bottlenecks that the strategy aims to correct include gas turbines for oil tankers, engines for aircraft, joints used for robots and batteries for new-energy vehicles. "Breakthroughs in these technologies will lead to a new round of manufacturing growth," said Miao.
Zhu Sendi, a professor who advises Chinese policymakers on IT matters, said the nation is in urgent need to lift its manufacturing ability, especially as economic growth is slowing.
For decades, rural residents who have flocked to cities have provided low-cost labor, giving factories a competitive edge in the global market. But with labor costs rising, local vendors will need to rely more on employees with innovative ideas and the ability to "think outside of the box" to stay competitive.
"Having a better manufacturing industry with local innovation can help a nation better defend itself against a global economic slowdown and other international turbulences," Zhu said.
China's economic growth dropped to 7.4 percent last year, the slowest since 1999. However, market analyst firm International Data Corp estimated that spending on IT by enterprises will grow this year by a healthy 10 percent compared with 2014, thanks to continuous investments on steps to lower costs and increase efficiency.
A report by consultancy Accenture Plc shows that about 60 percent of the executives at local companies are considering collecting customer information using sensors, while the worldwide average is 40 percent. The high percentage indicates Chinese companies are more willing to try out technology upgrades to improve service quality, according to Marco Cassinadri, managing director at Accenture's information technology and services in China.
"We have seen a surge in the number of Chinese companies that are interested in investing in new technologies to reduce operating costs," he said.
"Made in China 2025" has been compared by some to Germany's Industry 4.0 strategy, a national plan to boost manufacturing. Luo Wen, director of government think tank China Center for Information Industry Development, said the differences between the two blueprints are distinctive.
"Industry 4.0 mainly focuses on adding the smart manufacturing elements to the already very advanced manufacturing process because Germany has a stronger industrial foundation than China," he said.
Policy adviser Zhu agrees, and said that some Chinese companies are still using Soviet-era manufacturing technology.
"China is trying to catch up with cutting-edge technologies. This will not be an easy task," Zhu said.
It will take Germany about a decade to accomplish its Industry 4.0 mission, yet the overall level of Chinese manufacturing in 2025 is expected to be still lower than the top manufacturer in Europe, industry sources said.
The adoption of modern technology, such as the "Internet of Things" and artificial intelligence, will help China spend less time in low-end manufacturing and embrace high-margin manufacturing sooner, Zhu said.
"I do not think China can leapfrog the leading economies by using this 10-year strategy, but it is possible to catch up with them," he said.
China will become the world's largest patent applicant, but the country is short of key technologies. Total investment in research and development lags behind leading economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
The country recalls more goods worldwide due to quality problems. Local firms lose more than 200 billion yuan ($32.2 billion) annually from recalls.
China uses more energy to create each unit of GDP than most major economies. Energy consumption per unit of GDP is nearly twice the global average and 2.4 times higher than in the US, according to an estimate by BP Plc, the global energy company. High consumption of coal has also triggered serious environmental problems.
Low-end manufacturing accounts for a large proportion of total output. Demand for steel, cement and flat glass is well below its peaks.
Industrial Internet development lags behind more than 50 economies.
Global value chain
China's outbound direct investment accounts for 2.5 percent of the world's total and around 10 percent that of the US. This means the country is failing to take advantage of the global production chain.
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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi debuts in US, Europe with online store (2015-05-19,Xinhua)
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Tuesday launched an online store targeting the United States and European market, but stops short of selling its phones.
The new store, mi.com/en/store, does not sell android-based smartphones and tablets but instead offer headphones, power banks and wristbands made by the Beijing-based tech startup.
A spokesperson with Xiaomi said the company currently has no plan to sell smartphones on the newly-launched online store when responding to Xinhua's inquiry.
Xiaomi is currently entangled in a patent dispute with Ericsson in India, with a court verdict pending.
The company, now among the world's most valued tech startups at 45 billion U.S. dollars, started its expansion beyond its home market in China last year. It launched a flagship smartphone called Mi 4i in India last month.
Xiaomi's smartphones are also sold in southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines as well as in Brazil.
Xiaomi was the second largest smartphone maker in China with 13.5 million smartphone shipments in the first quarter this year, trailing Apple, whose shipments stand at 14.5 million, according to IT consultancy IDC.
Chinese smartphone makers including Xiaomi and Huawei are increasingly expanding into overseas markets as smartphone sales in China, the world's largest, reach saturation. China smartphone sales shrank for the first time in six years during the first quarter, with shipments down 4.3 percent to 98.8 million, IDC says.
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China, Singapore sign MOU on trademark cooperation (2015-05-19,Xinhua)
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on trademark cooperation, said IPOS in a news release.
The MOU will see Singapore and China enhancing exchanges on trademark registration, examination practices, protection and enforcement.
The agreement includes exchange information and best practices related to trademark registration and protection; developing capacity-building activities such as training on trademark examination and dispute resolution proceedings and facilitating exchanges of IP officials and experts etc.
"The MOU will further strengthen the cooperation and coordination between China and Singapore to provide more support to trademark owners growing and protecting their trademark portfolios both in China and Singapore," Vice Minister of SAIC Liu Yuting said.
IPOS CEO Tan Yih San also noted that this MOU strengthens the linkages between the two countries' trademark and brands, which facilitates Chinese companies' effort to expand their operations in Singapore and the larger ASEAN region. The MOU also welcome Singapore companies and multi-national corporations based in Singapore to have greater access to the China market with their trademarks and brands.
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Alibaba sued in US by luxury brands over counterfeit goods (2015-05-18,People's Daily)
A group of luxury goods makers sued Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Friday, contending the Chinese online shopping giant had knowingly made it possible for counterfeiters to sell their products throughout the world.
The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA seeking damages and an injunction for alleged violations of trademark and racketeering laws.
The lawsuit alleged that Alibaba had conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing their trademarks without their permission.
A spokesman for Alibaba, Bob Christie, said in a statement:
"We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so. Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation. We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously."
Concerns over fake products on Alibaba's platforms, including online marketplace Taobao, have dogged it for years, although the US Trade Representative removed Taobao from its list of "notorious markets" in 2012 in light of progress made.
Friday's lawsuit marked the second time in less than a year that the Kering brands had sued Alibaba over the alleged sale of counterfeit products.
An earlier lawsuit was filed in July only to be withdrawn the same month with the ability to refile it while the Kering units worked toward a resolution with Alibaba, according to court records.
The lawsuit alleged that Alibaba and its related entities "provide the marketplace advertising and other essential services necessary for counterfeiters to sell their counterfeit products to customers in the United States."
The lawsuit cited, for example, an alleged fake Gucci bag offered for $2 to $5 each by a Chinese merchant to buyers seeking at least 2,000 units. The authentic Gucci bag retails for $795, the complaint said.
Alibaba has allowed for counterfeit sales to continue even when it had been expressly informed that merchants were selling fake products, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks a court order that, among other things, would block Alibaba from offering or facilitating the sale of counterfeit products and unspecified damages that could include $2 per counterfeit item under a statutory regime.
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Chinese nuclear power technologies heading abroad (2015-05-14,People's Daily)
China began construction of a pilot nuclear power project using Hualong One technology, a domestically-developed third generation reactor design, in Fuqing, southeast China's Fujian Province on May 7, 2015.
"As yet, no third generation pressurized water reactor has been completed worldwide. The construction of Hualong One indicates China's ascent into the rank of countries with advanced nuclear technology," said Qian Zhimin, general manager of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
Hualong One is a benchmark for China's nuclear power product. Its safety index and performance index can meet in full the most demanding international standards for third generation nuclear power technology. For example, the "177 reactor core" design can increase the generated power by 5 percent to 10 percent; at the same time it can lower the power density of the reactor core, so as to enhance safety. The power plant can withstand an earthquake as strong as the one that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and with the "double containments" design, it can even withstand the impact of a large commercial aircraft.
With 743 patents and 104 software copyrights, Hualong One has given China independent third generation nuclear power technology. And because of the proprietary intellectual property rights China owns, Hualong One has no restrictions in terms of selling abroad. Currently, China cooperates with nearly 20 countries in nuclear power projects, including the UK, Argentina, Pakistan and Egypt.
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Pharma pins growth on protecting its creations (2015-05-13,China Daily)
A pharmaceutical company in Yichang said its rapid development since its establishment in 2001 comes from its dedication to intellectual property management.
"Of all industries, the pharmaceutical industry is the most closely associated with intellectual property protection," said Li Jie, chairman of Yichang Humanwell Pharmaceutical Co.
The company is a State-designated manufacturer of and a research and development base for narcotic analgesics.
It has three production bases covering a total area of 120 hectares, including a manufacturing and export base that is still under construction in Yichang Biological Industry Park.
Some of the company's pharmaceuticals produced by its six production lines have been exported to the United States, Europe and Africa.
"Pharmaceutical companies must rely on patented products to secure markets. Research of a new drug takes a very long period, about 10 to 15 years, and also may cost hundreds of millions of yuan, so systematic intellectual property management and protection is crucial to pharmaceutical companies," Li said.
In 2009, the company established a department to handle intellectual property rights and created an intellectual property system to increase its number of patent applications and spur innovation.
Humanwell Pharmaceutical has focused on developing a series of products with proprietary technologies and has set up cooperative partnerships with many universities nationwide to drive innovation. Its partners include Sichuan University, China Pharmaceutical University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Its products have a 62 percent share of the domestic narcotic market.
Over the past five years, it has secured technical cooperation measures with foreign companies to "inject new force into its patent commercialization", Li said.
It recently acquired the license for a narcotic analgesic from Paion UK Ltd, a European pharmaceutical company, to develop and commercialize it in China.
In recent years Humanwell has grown steadily in the number of its patent and trademark applications.
It currently has 117 trademarks, including 13 registered overseas in countries such as the US, Germany, Canada, India and Chile. It also has 62 patent applications, 45 of which were approved.
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New draft rule on patent rewards draws support (2015-05-13,China Daily)
A draft of the regulation of service invention recently released by the State Council's Legislative Affairs to gather public opinion has triggered much discussion over the financial payments awarded to inventors.
The proposed regulations, which cover patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit designs and technical knowledge, provide several options for financial rewards for inventions in case agreements between inventor and employee are absent.
In the draft, a company employee responsible for an invention will receive twice their monthly salary from the employer once the innovation receives an invention patent or a new plant variety. Once the service invention has been commercialized or industrialized, the employee will then receive at least 5 percent of the annual profit or at least 0.5 percent of the product's annual sales.
The regulation draft emphasizes the priority given to contracts between inventors and their employers, said Yang Wu, president of the All-China Patent Attorneys Association, at a forum on intellectual property in late April.
Even for existing contracts, if the reward agreed upon is much lower than the options as stated in regulations, a court can rule whether a contract shows "obvious unjustness", Yang said.
Yan Xin, director of Huawei Technologies' intellectual property division in Beijing, pointed to a Shanghai court ruling at the end of 2014 in which the judges invalidated a contract because of the wide difference between the reward agreed upon and regulations governing patent rewards.
Under such a circumstance, "whether a contract is binding is a common concern in the industry", Yan said.
"A lack of steady validity for an agreement will cause anxiety over related contracts in businesses."
As both a campaigner for China's innovation-driven development and a beneficiary of the nation's patent system, Huawei has invested at least 10 percent of its sales into research and development, he said.
It spent 40 billion yuan ($6.44 billion) on R&D in 2014. Over the past decade, total R&D expenditure has surpassed 190 billion yuan, he said.
The heavy investment has paid off - thousands of its intellectual property rights have been generated worldwide annually, he said.
To spur innovation in employees, Huawei has designed various remuneration systems in different countries for its domestic and overseas operations, he noted.
"Inventors and employers have common interests," Yan said. "They have mutually beneficial relations, rather than incompatible ones like fire and water."
Song Jianhu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office's law and treaty department, agreed with Yan.
"In terms of innovation, inventors and companies are mutually dependant on each other. We have considered a balance between the interest of companies and that of inventors," Song said.
The concept of a service invention is not new in China - the 1984 edition of Patent Law has related regulations, she added.
Yet the work on drafting the regulation on service invention began in 2010 when China released its outline for the national long- and middle-term professional development plan.
The regulations under discussion provide insight into the increasing value of professionals, analysts said.
"We can see that the idea behind the legislation is tilting in favor of inventors' interests," said Yang, the president of the All-China Patent Attorneys Association.
"I believe it helps inspire tech company's employees to make innovations, which is in line with the country's goal of promoting inventions and encouraging innovation," he said.
The new draft will have a greater impact on large corporations, which by way of their sheer size, will likely have a higher number of inventions and thus, a greater amount of financial rewards to dole out.
Yan at Huawei said he believes financial rewards as stated in the draft rule are high compared with what judges would likely hand down in compensation cases in court.
He cited an infringement compensation survey conducted by the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law that found that 97.25 percent of infringements resorted to legal proceedings and granted an average of 80,000 yuan in compensation between 2008 and 2012 in China.
The average compensation was $4.9 million in the United States from 2007 to 2012, according to a third-party report, he said.
"If we could also be granted such a high compensation for damage in court, none would consider the suggested rewards in the draft excessive."
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Innovation is an institutional design (2015-05-08,China Daily)
The Chinese invented the compass, gunpowder, movable-type printing and mastered the tecchnique to make paper. But China fell behind a West better armed with these inventions, in both political and cultural terms, in the century after the mid-1800s.
If innovation, especially in the field of science and technology, is a consequence of a certain set of institutions, as was shown by some countries, China has not ceased in exploring to establish the system that fits its national conditions for the nation's independence and prosperity.
Some experiments failed, some succeeded. The latest efforts are embodied in an ambitious action plan issued late last month, in which the central authority vows to implement the "Internet+" strategy, promoting the convergance of information technology and ten key industries. These include equipment manufacturing, new energy and bio-pharmaceuticals, and aims to upgrade the manufacturing industry from a world workshop to a world-class industrial power by 2025.
After missing the industrial revolutions of coal, oil and electricity, China regards the development of the Internet as an opportunity to catch up with more advanced economies.
To pave way for the transformation, in another guiding opinion published at the same time, the authority expounds explicitly on the importance and steps of building a pro-innovation environment.
China will expedite reforms of some monopoly industries of State-owned enterprises, restrict government's intervention in the economy, lower the threshold for new technology and emerging industries, and boost competition by making the market more transparent and fair.
China will also draft laws and rules on angel investment, play up the capital market's role in promoting innovation, and support qualified innovative enterprises to issue corporate bonds.
It will also make it easier for foreign professionals to obtain permanent residence, and bring in draft regulations on skilled migration.
To expedite the transformation of ideas into reality, China will take incentive measures to encourage the free flow of knowledge and expertise from universities and institutes to enterprises, from laboratories to workshops.
Some analysts compare this to two milestone plans that have helped shape the global economy; Germany's Industry 4.0 action programme, and the United States' reindustrialization initiative. All three resort to the Internet to break the information asymmetry, lower transaction costs, promote division of labor based on specialization and improve labor productivity.
Although there is still big gap between China and its two main trade partners, the US and Germany, the fast rising momentum of China's input in research and development lays a solid foundation for the world largest manufacturer to become more qualitative than quantitative in catching up the advanced manufacturing powers.
According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, China's input in R&D doubled in the past five years hitting $311 billion last year, overtaking that of the European Union ($292 billion) for the first time. If China can make its R&D input account for about 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2020, it will surpass the US in 2019 and become the largest spender on innovation.
Yet, China still has a long way to go in translating the sizable input into concrete output.
Experts classify innovations into three kinds: continuous innovation, market innovation and efficiency innovation.
Thanks to its belief in discipline and technology, Germany became the best continuous innovator, which emphasizes constant upgrading of technologies.
The US is a good example of market innovation, which refers to the paradigm-changing creations. The revolutionary innovations of the information technologies and the number of its applications born in the US are testimony to the country's success in exploring new possibilities of human intelligence.
The efficiency innovation comes from the improvement of institutions and models. The past 30 years' fast economic growth in China is a result of its reform featuring in continuous institutional innovation.
The economic rise of Japan, South Korea and Singapore after World War II originated from their successes in continuous and efficient innovation. And if they want to go further, they have to compete with the US in market innovation, which is most costly.
The innovation initiatives of China, if well implemented, will see China enter into a new development phase. The "Internet+" provides China with such a chance to reshuffle and integrate its backbone industries.
The establishment of an apprentice system in workshops in 1880 ushered Germany onto the road of becoming the world's best manufacturer.
About seven million students graduate from technical schools in China each year. But most of them work on the assembly lines. They should play bigger roles in upgrading the industries.
China has world-class Internet and manufacturing enterprises. To realize the seamless converging between them, China also needs to improve the quality of its vocational education system, encourage independent and critical thinking, and cultivate an inclusive attitude to failures in innovation.
Second, the government should continue to play an active role in promoting innovations in the some areas that enterprises will not easily do, but benefit the people, such as the exploration of space.
Third, the government must watch carefully over funds earmarked for R&D, because corruption and bureaucratism, if unchecked, can erode not only the funds, but also people's belief in intellectual endeavors.
Last but not least, China must strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights through the rule of law, rather than only government action, and raise the public awareness that IPR protection benefits China in the long run.
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Chinese company ZTE among world's top patent holders (2015-05-07,Xinhua)
China's leading telecom equipment manufacturer, ZTE Corp., was ranked third globally in patent applications under the 2014 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), according to the companying, citing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Thursday.
More than 12,000 handset-related patents have been granted to ZTE. They hold 13 percent of the world's 4G-specific patents.
Among all Chinese cellphone companies in the U.S. market, ZTE has the biggest market share, and one of the four most popular brands in the market, according to the company.
More than 10 percent of ZTE's annual business revenue goes toward innovation and research, said CEO Shi Lirong. Over the past five years, the company has invested over 40 billion yuan (6.54 billion U.S. dollars) in research and development, and it has 26,000 R&D employees, which account for 37.5 percent of all employees.
The company earned 883 million yuan in net profits in the first quarter of 2015, up 41.91 percent year on year. Operating revenue increased by 10.21 percent year on year to 21 billion yuan.
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Appeal means dispute will have a voice in court again (2015-05-06,China Daily)
Beijing High People's Court recently ruled in favor of Apple Inc over the Chinese patent authority for a patent on voice recognition technology. But a Shanghai-based company has decided to appeal.
Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled last July against Apple, which sued the Patent Review Committee under the State Intellectual Property Office, requiring it to revoke the patent for Xiao i Robot, owned by Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co Ltd.
Apple said that the technology violated the patent on its Siri voice recognition software.
The dispute started in 2012, when Zhizhen filed a case in a Shanghai court against Apple for infringement of intellectual property rights, claiming that Siri violated its patent for "a type of instant messaging chat robot system", Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xiao i Robot was first put into use in 2003 as a chat bot for MSN, Yahoo Messenger and other chat programs, and later expanded to iOS and Android systems.
Siri, on the other hand, made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011. It was first developed in 2007 by Siri Inc, a start-up company acquired by Apple in 2010.
According to the latest ruling, SIPO will reexamine the validity of Zhizhen's patent.
The attorney for Apple said that the patent document of Xiao i Robot failed to describe in detail how it works, and the patent contained little innovation, reported China Business News.
Their opinion won support from the higher court.
Representatives of Zhizhen explained to the newspaper that the patent document was written for the computer technology professionals to understand, not for outsiders.
Jia Jun, chief analyst at patent research and management firm PatSnap, said that the focus of the dispute is whether or not the patent for Xiao i Robot has publicized all its technical solutions.
"SIPO was tolerant in interpreting the patent document filed by Zhizhen, but the higher court had stricter judgment," Jia said. "Its ruling said that the patent did not clarify how to realize game functions, what types of sentences to use in the interaction with game servers or the composition of the servers, so the patent should be invalidated."
He said the verdict "technically announced Apple's victory".
Wang Yuquan, an investor of Xiao i Robot, said that he was "still optimistic" about the result of the dispute. "We will have what should be ours, even in the reexamination," he said.
"I believe there is no doubt about Xiao i Robot's IP rights."
Yuan Yang, attorney for Zhizhen, added that the Patent Review Committee "has been supporting the validity of the patent for Xiao i Robot".
Industry insiders said both Apple and Zhizhen would find it difficult to lose the case.
If Apple fails, it will pay a large fine and Siri might be banned in China. And if Zhizhen fails, it will lose its patent.
"If Zhizhen wins against Apple, it will be given confidence to challenge all products with voice recognition and interaction functions, such as smart mobile terminals, wearable devices, even automatic vehicles," said PatSnap analyst Jia.
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From manufacturer to innovator, Huawei upgrades brand image in Brazil (2015-05-06,Xinhua)
Chinese telecom giant Huawei has become widely known in Brazil, as its products ranging from smartphones, routers, to set-top boxes, dominate many counters in big shopping malls as well as local telecom operators' shops all over the country.
While the company is becoming increasingly well-known as a consumer electronics devices provider, it takes up to 40 percent of the network equipment market in the biggest economy of Latin America, as partners to local operators.
Founded in 1987 in South China's Shenzhen city of Guangdong province, Huawei entered Brazil in 1996 and launched a subsidiary in 1999 in Sao Paulo. It has managed to grow up during the past two decades into the biggest network equipment provider in Brazil, with total sales at $1.5 billion in 2014.
Wang Ying, the Public Relations Manager at Huawei's Brazil company, said that based in Sao Paulo, the company has established branches in major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Recife and Curitiba, providing service to the whole country. As a successful example of localization, about 8,000 staff were locally recruited, making up to 80 percent of the total staff number.
"It was really difficult when the company first entered this market," said Wang. "But with our perseverance of providing best service to clients, we finally grabbed the chance when Brazil upgraded its telecom networks from 2G to 3G and has begun the fast growth since 2006 in the country's wireless transfer market."
"We've made great efforts to improve the quality of our products and won high recognition of the customers for our brand," said Zhang Bing, Marketing Director at Huawei's Brazil company. "Our clients regard Huawei as guarantee of high quality and fair price."
In addition to the high quality, Huawei also focuses on innovation, said Wang, which has been the main driver behind its growth.
In 2014, the group spent 40.8 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) on research and development, 29.4 percent more than in 2013 and 14 percent of revenue, taking its total investment in research and development in the past decade to more than 190 billion yuan ($30.7 billion). Among its 150,000 employees all over the world, more than 45 percent are engaged in innovation, research and development.
Huawei has been granted 36,511 patents and currently holds over 170 key positions in major international standards organizations, driving the improvement of industry standards.
With the support of its global research and development networks, Huawei has been trying to benefit the local communities with technology training and cooperation with local research institutes.
In the research and development and training center in Campinas city, Sao Paulo State, Huawei has trained 40,000 information and communication technology talents, 2,000 people each year. It also established joint laboratories with University of Sao Paulo and University of Brasilia.
Last year, Huawei provided two cloud computing systems to facilitate education development in northern Brazil, offering platforms for online teaching and information sharing.
Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Clelio Campolina Diniz, said the systems will help boost education and healthcare development in the northeast, and help the region build closer connections with other developed areas of the country.
In order to promote wireless technology inventions for this market, Huawei is working out cooperation plans with Federal University of Campina Grande, the leader in clouding computing research in Brazil, to develop cloud computing services and products for the local market.
"We endeavors to offer people, especially in developing countries, fast and convenient connections at an affordable price," Zhang said.
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New Balance loses China trademark case (2015-04-30,Xinhua)
A Chinese court has ordered an affiliate of U.S. sneaker maker New Balance to compensate a Chinese citizen 98 million yuan (16 mln U.S. dollars) for infringing his trademark rights.
The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court in south China's Guangdong Province also ordered New Balance Trading (China) Co., Ltd. to stop using "Xin Bai Lun" to promote its products in China, the court told Xinhua on Wednesday.
The verdict, issued on April 24, said the New Balance affiliate sold its products in the Chinese market under the name "Xin Bai Lun," similar to the trademark "Bai Lun" registered by a man surnamed Zhou in 1996.
Zhou also registered "Xin Bai Lun" in 2011. New Balance failed to block the registration after raising an objection with the Chinese trademark authority.
The court defied the "necessity" argued by the U.S. company to use "Xin Bai Lun" instead of its registered trademark "New Balance" in China, as "Xin Bai Lun" is neither the translation or transliteration of "New Balance."
According to the court, the compensation amounted to half of the profits the defendant made during the period the infringement took place.
New Balance has not appealed the case so far.
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Focus on improving IP quality, SIPO says (2015-04-29,China Daily)
China is focusing on improvements in patent quality, said Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office on Monday.
SIPO received some 928,000 applications for invention patents in 2014, topping the world for the fourth consecutive year and representing a 12.5 percent rise from a year earlier.
About 26,000 international applications were filed with SIPO through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, ranking third in the world.
Despite that growth, China is still short of core patents, Shen said during SIPO's Open House event.
"We are putting more efforts into improving patent quality while continuing to maintain a steady increase," he said.
"Creating high-quality patents require a high-level human resource pool," he added.
The commissioner called on professionals including experts brought in through national overseas recruitment programs to develop more high-value patented technologies and contribute to China's change from a large IP filer to a strong IP powerhouse.
Small and micro businesses are another dynamic force to promote such change, he said.
For some 500,000 tech startups operational in the country, survival and growth heavily relies on the quality of their IP assets, he said, noting the path from an innovative idea to a patented product would expand the market and help increase employment.
SIPO has rolled out a series of policies to help small businesses deal with difficulties they face in financing and development, Shen said.
Those efforts include giving priority to applications for patents in urgent need, awarding the first invention patent granted to a small business and connecting patent agents with small businesses to offer free aid at least once a year.
Part of a weeklong IP promotion that officially began on April 20, Open House attracted more than 100 representatives of small businesses, as well as 20 patent experts and scholars.
During the event, an overseas IP information portal went online to help Chinese companies interested in exploring abroad have a better understanding of the IP environments in other countries.
Huang Qing, director of SIPO's protection and coordination department, said nearly 70 percent of export-oriented companies in China are short of key information about IP systems in their trade destinations, which "has severely impeded their overseas expansion".
To address the issue, the online platform worldip.cn now provides "one-stop access" to professional resources and services, Huang said.
It covers some 270 laws and regulations in more than 10 countries and regions, provides information about overseas IP environments, brief filing procedures and related charges.
In addition, nearly 100 files about IP strategies and analysis of more than 130 typical cases are offered on the website.
Addressing frequently asked questions and concerns companies face in their overseas operations, the portal is designed with special sections to give guidance on such issues. The platform also offers links to overseas agencies and an expert panel for tailor-made resolutions.
SIPO also launched a WeChat account and announced its annual top 10 patent review cases during the event.
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Rights bring great benefit to companies (2015-04-29,China Daily)
It is hard to protect intellectual property rights well, but such rights are of great benefit to companies, legal counsels for companies in Zhongguancun Science Park said on April 22.
Fu Tong, general counsel at Qihoo 360 Technology Co, said it is expensive to apply for the authorization of patents and her company could not afford many applications until it went public in March 2011.
The company set up its IP team later and has applied for authorizations for some 1,000 patents annually since 2012.
"It was very hard to prepare for the first 1,000 applications as our research and development colleagues were busy inventing software every day and they did not realize the significance of patent applications," Fu said.
Fu and the colleagues on her team had to persuade their R&D colleagues every day at that time to help the team apply for patent authorization.
"Their sense of writing patent applications has become much stronger now," she told China Daily.
To date, the company has applied for authorizations for 4,714 patents, of which more than 93 percent are invention patents.
Huang Jing, director of the IP department of Qihoo 360, said the company spends tens of millions of yuan applying for authorizations for some 1,000 patents every year, but it is worthwhile.
"Technological innovation including patent applications can make listed companies much more valuable and investors thus will have more confidence in the companies," Huang said.
Fu said intellectual property rights are intangible capital for her company and helped prevent the company from going bankrupt before it had its own office building.
Beiqi Foton Motor Co benefited greatly from its patents, according to a spokesperson for the vehicle maker.
The design patent of its Tunland pickup won a prize from the State Intellectual Property Office in 2014 and exports of the models hit 605 million yuan ($97.51 million) after they went into production in 2012.
The models were exclusively used in China's pickup cross-country competitions in 2012 and 2013.
In 2011, Foton became the first company in Beijing whose patent applications in one year surpassed 1,000.
Qian Haifeng, general counsel at Foton, said they were very proud when Germany-based Daimler Co invited them to set up a joint venture because of Foton's intellectual property rights.
The two founded Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co in 2012.
Differing from traditional cooperation between Chinese and foreign companies, most of Foton's investment was in the form of intangible assets worth 2 billion yuan, including patents and trademarks.
Qian added that Foton also has a global vehicle patent database and will regularly analyze the latest patent information worldwide for better development and protection of its intellectual property rights.
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Internet-based patent translation goes online (2015-04-29,China Daily)
After a year's effort, the first Internet-based patent translation platform in China went online on April 24.
Developed by the Intellectual Property Publishing House, a publisher administrated by the State Intellectual Property Office, wiptrans.com helps translators and companies that need patent translations link with each other.
Hu Xinhua, director of the publisher's translation business section, said at the unveiling ceremony in Beijing that the service is an answer to the concept of "Internet Plus", the latest national action plan that calls for integration of Internet technologies and traditional industries.
"By developing the platform, we are attempting to combine our advantages and resources in the publishing and patent translation businesses with the Internet," he said.
Li Cheng, deputy head of the company, said that with increasingly intense international competition, Chinese companies need to "develop their IP strategies to control risks, and at the same time introduce high-quality IPs from around the world", and patent translation is a key factor in that process.
"The quality of patent translation is closely related to the quality of a patent," Li said. "One wrong word in the translation can lead to changes in the protection range of a patent."
The platform allows companies to issue patent documents to be translated online.
From college students and graduates to retired professionals, anyone can register as a full-time or part-time translator for free.
After they pass an online translation skills test, they can translate the patent documents that interest them or for which they have expertise, and get paid for their work each month.
Li said many companies, law firms, government agencies and individuals have participated in the business, but some are unqualified.
Based on its many years of patent translation expertise, the publisher developed a machine translation engine in 2000. With its help, the platform boasts a database of 14 million English-Chinese technical terms in 12 different industries, as well as 30 million fixed phrases and expressions.
A translator can work by simply editing the result of the machine translation, or choose to translate documents manually, with hints of possible terminology and fixed phrases popping up as he or she types, making it unnecessary to look up every term in the dictionary.
The translator can also submit the completed work sentence by sentence rather than after the entire document is finished, so that final stage revisers can theoretically work simultaneously to greatly increase efficiency.
"New technologies like big data can solve the problem of word-for-word translation, but translators have higher requirements about logic," said Zhuang Yifang, a partner in Beijing Hande Intellectual Property Firm, at a seminar focusing on the patent translation business in the age of the Internet.
The platform includes translator development and quality supervision mechanisms.
A newly registered translator can gain experience credits as he or she works. Senior translators can take on more challenging work for higher wages.
An expert panel supervises the quality of all the translated works. Translators will receive a warning or lose credits if the panel rules their work to be of poor quality.
The platform also offers education and training resources such as translation skills and how to search patent information.
Li said the company would build online communities in the future for translators registered on the platform to share their experience and expertise.
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Baidu chasing Google in race to create real AI (2015-04-25,China Daily)
Since Alan Turing proposed the concept of artificial intelligence in the 1950s, human beings have exerted great efforts to create machines that can think and communicate like humans.
To see if a computer can think like a human, he fashioned a test, later called the Turing Test, in which a computer is submitted to a five-minute blind assessment given by human questioners. A computer is deemed to have passed the test if more than 30 percent of its answers are mistaken for having been given by a human being.
In June 2014, media reports claimed that "the 65 year-old iconic Turing Test was passed for the very first time by supercomputer Eugene Goostman during Turing Test 2014 held at the renowned Royal Society in London".
However, some researchers questioned the success by pointing out that by making the computer a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine gave it an advantage, as when it provided some odd answers in English. Others identified the supercomputer as only a chatbot without artificial intelligence, and said many other chatbots - including Cleverbot that achieved 59 percent in 2011 - had also claimed to have passed the test. But they are not AI.
One of the most exciting achievements in the development of AI technology in recent years is the breakthrough made by Google's DeepMind team in London.
The team's Deep Q-Network algorithms can learn to play new computer games like Breakout or Spaceship Invaders. Gradually, the algorithms will play better and better by accumulating experience in previous rounds, and in some cases, they can even develop new strategies.
"Whether robots can overtake human beings depends on the learning ability of robots," says Qu Daoqui, chief executive officer of Siasun Robots & Automations in Shenyang.
Christopher G Atkeson, professor in the Robotics Institute and Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University, is one of the scientists who help to create the lovely inflatable caregiver robot Baymax in the animation film, Big Hero 6.
"I believe this achievement is the best of its kind at learning to play video games. I believe these learning techniques are also doing well in speech recognition and vision," he says in an e-mail response to China Daily, referring to Google's efforts.
"This is a step forward, but not a complete solution to AI," he qualifies. One of the bottlenecks for AI is "we do not yet have a general theory of how thinking works. We can (only) develop algorithms for specific tasks."
"The DeepMind team has made amazing advances at the frontiers of deep learning and reinforcement learning. Nonetheless, I think all at DeepMind would recognize the substantial challenges that remain in developing full AI.
"We're still far from being able to reproduce in software the deep understanding of our environments, like societal norms and cultural cues, that comes naturally to us given only limited examples," he says.
Just as Google positions itself as an AI company, China's search engine giant Baidu is also investing heavily in AI development.
Since 2013, Baidu has been working on a cutting-edge project Baidu Brain. With a strong research and development team, the project uses computer to simulate human brain and has achieved the intelligence level of a three-year-old.
In 2014, Baidu poured 7 billion yuan - 15 percent of its total revenues - into R&D. Last year, registered patents of Baidu also soared to nearly 2,000 items, up 146 percent compared with the previous year. And 25.4 percent is relevant to AI, including 270 items in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and 120 in Deep Learning.
"China's AI research and development does not lag far behind those in developed countries," said Baidu CEO Robin Li at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Baidu's Deep Speech can recognize speech in noisy surroundings like in a restaurant as often as 81 percent, higher than the 65 percent of other commercial speech-recognition application programming interfaces, according to a Forbes report.
Another major breakthrough for Baidu last year was to develop software that can describe a picture with languages. This technology will allow people to search for pictures with oral instructions, and will especially benefit the blind.
Based on its R&D, Baidu is developing applications including Baidu Magic Mirror, Carlife, self-driving cars and robots.
When you get up in the morning and look into the magic mirror, it will tell you what to do with your face - shave or apply cosmetics. You can also read the news on it.
When you need to go out, Carlife will tell you the best way to travel to your desired location and point out the best parking lot. The self-driving car will ferry you to the location. You can take the robot with you so that it will help you deal with various information and work and chat with or entertain you.
Life could seem much easier in the future, especially for people with disabilities.
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Apple Watch faces timely competition (2015-04-25,China Daily)
Shenzhen company produces look-alike for a fraction of the price
When Apple delivered the first long-awaited smartwatch to its customers on Friday, a small factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, had already sold tens of thousands of Apple Watch look-alikes worldwide for a fraction of the price.
Zheng Yi, founder of smartwatch factory YQT Electronic Technology, is expecting "explosive demand growth" this year because of the Apple Watch release.
"Apple ignited customers' craze for wearable devices. We will definitely benefit from it," he said, sipping a cup of tea at his office close to the Shenzhen airport.
Less than 10 meters from his office, workers were assembling prototypes of a low-end smartwatch for children. Noise from the exhaust system in the workshop drowned out the roar of passenger jets overhead.
Zheng's company makes a smartwatch very similar to Apple's device at first glance. It is capable of tracking your steps, receiving short messages and browsing Web pages. The device, named Smart Watch, sells for around 300 yuan ($48), a fraction of the cheapest Apple wearable, which sells for 2,588 yuan.
The 38-year-old, who graduated from China's elite Zhejiang University with a degree in urban planning, said his device is a "completely different product" compared with the Apple Watch. "All we did was to borrow some of the outstanding features from Apple and add our own watch. We did not copy them," according to Zheng.
The device beats Apple Watch's embarrassing 18-hour battery life, and the imitation can take low-quality pictures, a function that the Apple Watch does not have. The 40 engineers also moved the positions of the crown, the microphone and the speaker on the watch so that Zheng could apply for an appearance patent in China to avoid potential legal problems.
Apple did complain about YQT's wearable after the Cupertino, California-based giant found that the Chinese company used the exact same setting icon in its device. YQT quickly replaced the icon.
Apple did not reply to an e-mail from China Daily seeking comment.
John Fang, business analyst at China Market Research Group, said the cheap imitations will not defeat Apple Watch despite the significantly lower price tag.
"The knockoffs only attract those who cannot afford the real ones. But I think the vast majority of consumers would still buy Apple products from a trustworthy channel," Fang said.
Apple's "most personal device" was not hurt by the knockoffs and was received with initial success in China. The company is not able to provide products for walk-ins because of short supplies. The earliest delivery date for online orders was pushed to June. Apple did not disclose the number of smartwatches available for sale in China.
It will be extremely tough for an unknown manufacturer to take on Apple, analysts said.
"Apple commands a huge, loyal customer base who are already part of the brand's ecosystem and willing to embrace their latest offering," said Jack Chuang, associate partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants Greater China. The company is attempting to maximize the consumer base by introducing devices at all price ranges, Chuang said.
Although Zheng admitted it is impossible to take down Apple or Samsung with current products, he remains optimistic about a potential faceoff against Apple in the long run.
"We've been making smartwatches for more than seven years. Apple is a latecomer. We have more experience in this field and it is a huge advantage," he told China Daily.
The company makes 85 million yuan in annual revenue.
"To build a company like Apple, we need to build better brand awareness, and making knockoffs is not going to help," he added.
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Chinese more satisfied with IP protection (2015-04-24,Xinhua)
Satisfaction with intellectual property (IP) protection in 2014 was higher than in 2013, a survey showed on Friday.
Satisfaction was given a rating of 69.43 in 2014, 4.47 points higher than in 2013, according to the results of the joint survey by the Patent Protection Association of China, the China Trademark Association and the Publishers Association of China.
The survey involved 12,729 respondents, including IP rights owners, IP professionals and the general public.
Jiangxi, Shandong and Tianjin scored the highest marks.
The younger and more educated brackets were less satisfied with IP protection, according to the survey.
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New draft Patent Law released (2015-04-22,China Daily)
Amendments in a new draft of the revised Patent Law focus on increased protection, patent commercialization and administrative services, said a senior official at the State Intellectual Property Office.
The new draft was based on the version sent to the State Council in early 2013 for approval and it was released on April 1 to solicit opinions. The new draft addresses challenges in legal protection, such as difficulties in collecting evidence, insufficient compensation and high costs, Song Jianhua, director of SIPO's Law and Treaty Department, said at an IP forum on April 20.
Courts can order suspects to provide financial records and other evidence if rights owners have already made failed efforts to access them, according to the draft.
"We also suggested punitive damages, about two to three times compensation, in the case of malicious infringements," Song said.
The amended draft also has added regulations about online counterfeit cases. Amid a period of booming e-commerce, Internet service providers need to shoulder obligations to prevent and control illegal dealings online, she said.
Yang Wu, president of the All-China Patent Attorney Association, said, "Against the backdrop of a national innovation-driven strategy, the planned amendments show a higher demand for patent protection and utilization in our country."
The move in legislation signals China's active involvement in the changing global IP system, Yang said.
Developed and developing countries have differing patent protection circumstances - the former often have "stronger enforcement" while the latter often lean towards "weak" enforcement, he said.
As a growing number of Chinese companies have stronger performance in the international market and ask for stronger IP protection, the protection in legislation needs to shift from a minimum World Trade Organization standard to a higher level, he noted.
Zhu Xuezhong, a law professor at Tongji University, said the revisions would not only keep China's legal system in line with global trends but also help meet demands from within the country.
New provisions in the draft, such as partial industrial design and protection of diagnosis and treatment methods for animal or plant diseases, indicate encouragement for the growth of related industries, Zhu said.
He particularly praised a new chapter of the draft, which is dedicated to patent utilization.
"A patent's value lies in its commercialization and utilization, rather than protection," Zhu said.
"Commercialization is key for our country to move from a large patent producer to a strong innovation country," he noted.
Yan Xin, director of the Beijing Division of the IP Department at Huawei, a telecommunications giant headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, said the design of the lower edge of a cellphone, known as a phone's jaw in the industry, was an example of how introducing partial industrial design to the law would better protect innovations.
Huawei proposed the national innovation-driven development strategy and is also a beneficiary of the patent system.
The company invests at least 10 percent of its annual sales revenue into research and development. The company's R&D expenditure was 40 billion yuan ($6.45 billion) in 2014 alone, which meant its accumulative spend on innovation during the past decade surpassed 190 billion yuan.
Thousands of patents granted worldwide allow the company to access markets around the globe, Yan said.
He also said he supported the addition of the administrative services section in the draft that detailed what the related authorities' responsibilities are.
Related administrative departments should provide basic patent documentation and data, which is valuable to industries and helps improve innovation, Yan said.
Song said by providing documentation and data the concept of "rule by law" would be promoted and would help build a service-oriented government.
Zhu said the distinction between administrative services and commercial operations should be made clear and that "public services cannot overstep the boundary to replace market businesses".
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Online music piracy a top concern for Beijing (2015-04-22,China Daily)
Beijing's intellectual property protection followed requirements in 2014 to help build a national science and technology innovation center and develop a high-quality economic structure, with more collaboration efforts and special campaigns by local enforcement agencies, according to a press conference on April 16.
The number of IP rights in the city grew sustainably and the quality was also remarkably improved, said Fu Xiaohui, deputy chief of the city's IP office, at the press conference.
Last year, more than 138,000 patent applications were filed by individuals and organizations in Beijing, a 12 percent increase from 2013. Applications for invention patents exceeded 78,000, an increase of 15.7 percent.
More than 74,000 patents were granted in the same year, including nearly 23,300 invention patents.
The city's ownership of invention patents per 10,000 people reached 48.2, maintaining a leading position in the nation. Beijing added nine brands that gained geographical indication status, including Pinggu Peach and Daxing Watermelon.
The number of copyright registrations also increased by nearly 20 percent to reach more than 510,000. Nearly 8,800 copyrighted works were imported, including 31 types of software and 61 electronic publications.
Wang Yefei, deputy head of the Beijing Copyright Bureau, said fighting online music piracy would be this year's priority.
The World Intellectual Property Organization also chose music protection as the theme for this year's world IP day. Wang said the bureau would supervise large music websites and coordinate with music portals, Internet companies, trademark associations and ad alliances to cut the source of piracy by illegal websites by charging advertising fees.
The city's IP Working Meeting Office also formulated a plan to deepen the implementation of Beijing's intellectual property strategy from 2015 to 2020, which detailed a specific timetable and roadmap, Fu said.
The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce signed cooperation agreements with the Municipal Science and Technology Commission, Zhongguancun Administrative Committee, State-Owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office and other government agencies to build an information exchange channel and provide multilevel policy support for the development of corporate trademark protection.
The municipal industry and commerce administration handled 1,100 IP infringement cases and handed out fines totaling more than 11 million yuan ($1.7 million) last year.
Sun Kaoli, head of the administration's trademark office, said this year they would focus on cracking down on counterfeit goods in clothing, auto parts, building materials and small home appliances. Key marketplaces include Beijing's popular zoo clothing wholesale market and Xiushui Street.
The administration said it would also increase penalties for online piracy and establish a blacklist. Online stores found selling copycats more than once will have their on- and off-line trade prohibited for a certain period, Sun said.
The Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Department cooperated with Beijing Customs to establish effective mechanisms for border inspections of harmful publications, sensitive event notifications and management of network news.
It also coordinated with security and urban management-related agencies to improve a mechanism for sharing information and pick up tipoffs for important cases.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court opened and started operating on Nov 6.
The court, China's first of its kind, was "an important initiative and a landmark in building the national image of IP protection, which would have a profound impact both in China and overseas", Fu said.
The court has four courtrooms and about 20 judges, said Yang Baiyong, chief IP judge at the Beijing High People's Court. This year, the court is expected to enroll a further six to eight new judges.
As of March 20, the court had accepted more than 2,400 cases, 580 of which were closed. It will accept a total of nearly 13,000 cases by the end of this year, Yang said.
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Beijing experiments with novel way to clean the air (2015-04-22,China Daily)
A city air purification apparatus specializing in outdoor air cleaning will be installed in Tsinghua University, this May, to see whether it can reduce the amount of PM2.5 and PM10 particles in the air.
The apparatus, which looks just like a bus stop, is now in fact being used in Hong Kong at a bus stop at the Hopewell Centre on Queen's Road East, a bustling area, and got the PM2.5 concentration around the bus station 50-percent lower in the Causeway Bay area.
Sino Green, a section committed to community sustainable development of the leading Hong Kong property developer Sino Group, and ARUP, a globally renowned engineering design and consulting firm, developed this city air purification system and they are applying for a patent on it.
Real monitoring data show that the apparatus can reduce the amount of PM2.5 and PM10 particles in the air by more than 60 percent when the air quality is really bad and around 40 percent when air quality is relatively good, said a staff from ARUP.
Daryl Ng Win Kong, the executive director of the Sino Group, said that a similar model will be given to Tsinghua University for the test on campus, the first site to collect data. And if it works, it should be tested on Beijing streets in the future, he said.
This is part of Win Kong's proposal to develop the road air purification system and fight air pollution, at the sessions of the Beijing People's Congress and Beijing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) earlier this year.
He explained that cities like Beijing and Hong Kong, with their dense towering buildings, have trouble with their air flow which leads to the concentration of pollution. So, the cities need to develop a way to increase the air flow to change the air quality and this bus-stop-like apparatus is one attempt.
The system now operates 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and consumes 18 KWH a day, making energy consumption a concern if it is to go into larger use, but, Win Kong adds, it might operate automatically so that it could shut itself down when the air quality is acceptable. When the monitoring data are available, they will try other methods, such as solar energy and adjusting intensity to deal with the energy consumption problem.
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Court details voice recognition patent case involving Apple (2015-04-22,Xinhua)
Beijing Higher People's Court explained why it asked a Chinese government agency to review a company's voice recognition patent validity, which has a dispute with Apple Inc.
On Tuesday, the court ruled in favor of Apple for a patent case. It said the voice recognition patent of Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co. Ltd. should be declared invalid and asked the Patent Review Committee under the State Intellectual Property Office to review it.
Jiao Yan, chief judge in this case, told Xinhua that Zhizhen's patent specification did not explain all technologies used in the invention. According to China's patent law, specification should allow common technical personnel in related fields to practice the technologies easily.
Meanwhile, Jiao said the patent claims failed to clearly define the limits of exactly what the patent does, and does not, cover.
Apple declined to comment on the court judgement on Wednesday.
The court decision was made after Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled last July against Apple.
The dispute between Apple and Zhizhen dates back to June 2012, when Zhizhen, developer of speech recognition technology Xiao i Robot, filed a case against Apple for alleged infringement of intellectual property rights, claiming that Siri technology violates its patent for "a type of instant messaging chat robot system."
Xiao i Robot, which began in 2003 as a chat bot for MSN, Yahoo Messenger and other chat programs, has expanded to iOS and Android, where it bears a striking similarity to Siri.
Siri, on the other hand, made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011. It was first developed in 2007 by Siri Inc., a start-up company acquired by Apple in 2010.
No verdict was given after trials at Shanghai courts.
At the same time, Apple applied to the Patent Review Committee to invalidate the Xiao i Robot patent. When the committee supported Xiao i Robot, the U.S.-based tech giant followed the administrative appeals process.
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Chinese cervical cancer expert named European Inventor Award 2015 finalists (2015-04-21,Xinhua)
The European Patent Office (EPO) on Tuesday honored the late Chinese cancer researcher virologist and molecular biologist Jian Zhou and Australian immunologist Ian Frazer for developing world's first cervical cancer vaccine.
Praised by the EPO in a statement, "The method is ground-breaking because it focuses on prevention, which can be life-saving, in particular for women without regular access to healthcare."
For this achievement, Jian Zhou and Ian Frazer today have been named finalists for the European Inventor Award 2015 in the category "Non-European Countries."
"Jian Zhou and Ian Frazer are unsung heroes of modern medicine," said EPO President Benoit Battistelli upon announcing the finalists.
"In their fight against cervical cancer, they focused on the cause rather than on the symptoms of the disease. Developing a vaccine has saved countless lives and also saved many women from a protracted and painful course of treatment, involving surgery and chemotherapy," Benoit Battistelli added.
Introduced by the EPO, it took almost 15 years until the cervical cancer vaccine was ready for market. In 1991, working at the University of Queensland, Zhou and Frazer filed a patent application for the missing link between the genuine virus and the artificially produced "representative".
"This was a milestone achievement for the now-widely available HPV vaccines," the EPO said in a statement.
In 1995, Zhou and Frazer started cooperating with US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co to develop the vaccine, called Gardasil. In 1998, after three years of testing, the scientists completed the first Gardasil trials on humans with outstanding results. A cycle of three injections offers full protection against HPV for up to five years. After Jian Zhou's unexpected death at the age of 42 from hepatitis, Ian Frazer continued their joint work until the vaccine was ready for market.
The European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office since 2006.
The award honors inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to social progress, economic growth and prosperity. Fifteen finalists and, subsequently, the winners are chosen from among the nominees by a high-profile international jury.
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Foreign media look into secrets of Chinese brands' success (2015-04-15,People's Daily)
At the beginning of 2015, a survey conducted by Millward Brown, one of the top 10 market research firms in the world, showed that 23 percent of foreign consumers can name at least one Chinese brand, while the figure in 2012 was 3 percent. According to the survey, Chinese brands have made great progress and still have much room for improvement in the future. Foreign media have paid much attention to the development of Chinese brands and looked into the secrets of their success.
An article published on the website of Forbes on April 11 points out that recently, investors have paid much attention to the new development of China's tech companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. The determination of Chinese government to release the reform bonus has provided the companies with a great opportunity. China's macroeconomic development and macroeconomic policies are the most important factors that push forward the development of those companies. And China's tech companies will enter an era of benign competition.
Reuters recently reported that Alibaba set up its automobile business department. As China's biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba has fully entered the smart life market. In fact, many tech companies have advanced side by side in the smart life market. And as Chinese government deepens the reform and releases reform bonus, those companies have got enough policy supports to expand the market.
About the rise of Chinese brands, an article published on the website of Forbes said that along with the success of Chinese brands and the rising purchase power and changing commodity aesthetic of Chinese consumer, Chinese economy is transforming from a production-oriented economy to a consumption-oriented one. The competition in domestic market will get fiercer. At the same time, Chinese brands will keep growing in competition and get more recognition.
Currently, as the world biggest information and communication solution provider, Huawei holds the core posts in more than 170 standards organizations and open source groups and has obtained a total of 35,611 patent licenses. In early April, the Financial Times reported Huawei's increased investment in new type mobile communication technology. As China's 4G network keeps growing, Huawei is also increasing its investment in research and development. The effort of Huawei is highly rewarding - as 4G gets popular in China, Huawei¡¯s profit rose 32 percent year-on-year in 2014.
In the "Xiaomi Fans Festival" on April 8, Xiaomi sold 1.3 million smart phones in 12 hours, setting a new Guinness record. And on April 23, Xiaomi Tech will launch its new product in India, which according to some analyses is a symbol of the brand's internationalization.
The New York Times comments that the fast growth of Chinese smart phones is an actual challenge to traditional smart phone producers such as Samsung. Xiaomi has a novel development strategy and a brand new commercial model which relies on social network and on-line sales. 2015 will be a crucial year for the internationalization of Xiaomi.
Millward Brown ACSR released its Brand Z top 100 Chinese brands at the beginning of 2015. According to the report, Chinese brands have a great potential and have the fastest growth rate in the world.
According to a report of Reuters, Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, JD.com and many other Chinese tech companies have advantages in communication, search, retail, smart terminal and other areas. The brand awareness of Chinese brands keeps increasing.
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China IPR management improving: official (2015-04-16,Xinhua)
China has improved its intellectual property rights (IPR) management and received the most patent applications in the world in 2014 for the fourth year running, an official said on Thursday.
China received 2.36 million patent applications in 2014, including 928,000 invention patent application, up 12.5 percent year on year, said Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office on Thursday.
China had received a total of 16.1 million trademark applications by the end of March, said Liu Junchen, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
It now takes less than nine months for a trademark to be approved, about one month less than 2013, Liu said.
China still lags behind the developed countries in trademark work, with only about 1,000 trademarks for every 10,000 market entities, while the figure is about 3,000 in developed countries, Liu said.
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Company sued for use of 'Longjing' trademark (2015-04-15,China Daily)
The Zhejiang Agricultural Technology Promotion Center has sued a tea company in Jiangsu province for using its "Longjing Tea" trademark without authorization, in the latest effort by the center to protect its well-established green tea brand in China.
Lu Debiao, an official at the center under the agricultural administration in Zhejiang province, said that Changzhou Kakoo Tea Co had infringed on the center's exclusive rights to the "Longjing Tea" trademark and "had a very bad effect" on the brand.
A district court in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang, heard the case last week but has not yet ruled, according to local media.
The Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce approved the registration of "Longjing Tea" by the center as a geographical indication certification trademark in 2008.
Such a trademark is controlled by an agency responsible for supervising goods with the mark and can be used, with approval, by other organizations and individuals to indicate the source of the goods, according to the trademark law.
The center has canceled the rights of about 50 companies to use the "Longjing Tea" trademark, including 35 last year, "mainly because they did not apply for reuse after the authorization expired", said an official at the Zhejiang agricultural administration.
An insider at the center said companies need to apply to use the "Longjing Tea" trademark, but can use it for free. At present, 352 companies have the right to use the trademark.
The legal production areas of "Longjing Tea" include four cities in Zhejiang - Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua and Taizhou.
To protect the trademark, the provincial agricultural authority plans to ask government agencies including the administration for industry and commerce to investigate and punish those who make and sell fake "Longjing Tea", local media reported.
Lu from the promotion center said they are collecting evidence and aim to guide makers of Longjing tea to produce it based on national standards.
The center also applied to register the trademark in 43 countries and regions and received a registration certificate from the Madrid system for the international registration of marks, as well as approval notices from other countries including Spain, Italy, Germany and the United States.
Government agencies in Zhejiang are carrying out a campaign that lasts until July to supervise the quality of Longjing tea and the use of the trademark in the legal production areas of the tea. When the campaign ends, they will publish a list of businesses that have the right to use the trademark.
Longjing tea originates from Longjing village near West Lake, a noted scenic spot in Hangzhou.
Tea makers in Zhejiang produced 24,000 tons of Longjing tea in 2014 and the output value was 3.8 billion yuan ($611 million), Zhejiang Daily reported.
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Alibaba may face trouble in US as fakes abound (2015-04-15,People's Daily)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd risks being blacklisted in the United Stated after a clothing trade group filed a complaint against the company alleging that the e-commerce giant has tolerated the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods on its Taobao platform.
The American Apparel and Footwear Association has asked the Office of the US Trade Representative and the Securities and Exchange Commission to add Taobao to the Notorious Market list, an official report that identifies Internet marketplaces dealing in infringing goods.
The USTR removed Alibaba from the blacklist in 2012. But the AAFA said that the addition of Taobao in this year's list could put pressure on the company to take more effective measures to tackle fakes on its websites.
Local media reported that the association, which represents more than 1,000 brands in the US, noted that the significant presence of counterfeit products on Taobao has resulted in millions of dollars of lost sales, reputational damage, legal costs and "exhaustion of internal resources" in the US apparel and footwear industry.
The AAFA was not available for comment.
Alibaba has defended itself against the accusations and stressed that the company has made great efforts to curb counterfeit goods on its platform.
An Alibaba spokeswoman said: "We work closely with our government partners, brands and industry associations to tackle this issue at its source."
As part of a plan to eliminate fake goods on Taobao, Alibaba has conducted random checks, used data-mining technology and offered an online complaint forum.
Despite these efforts, it is possible that investors in Alibaba could see the complaints as a negative indicator that the company is not taking the right measures to eradicate the problem.
Neil Flynn, portfolio manager at Alcuin Asset Management, said: "This incident certainly has the potential to negatively affect Alibaba's share price in the short term, because these will be the same firms that directly sell to Chinese consumers through Alibaba's Tmall."
Analysts agreed that it is important for Alibaba to continue its battle to eliminate fake goods to maintain its dominance of the lucrative Chinese e-commerce market and its reputation abroad.
Neil Shah, research director at market research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said: "Alibaba will have to identify and take action against the notorious counterfeits, which are not only hurting other brands but Alibaba's platform and reputation as well. Trust is the cornerstone for any e-commerce platform to grow and succeed."
The company is aware that it is the subject of increasing international scrutiny since its listing in the US last year. Concerns over the authenticity of products sold on its platforms have been a recurring issue raised by investors and consumer associations.
In January, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said the company had failed to protect consumer rights as it did little to tackle unlicensed merchants. The regulator said it found many products on sale on Alibaba's online platforms that infringed on trademarks
"Alibaba is not the only firm to have issues with counterfeit products, as every firm in the industry does. But Alibaba is often singled out because it is significantly larger than its rivals. Investors should be aware that this problem is endemic to the industry as a whole," said Flynn.
Alibaba's size is a key reason why it has struggled to prevent small vendors from selling fake goods on its Taobao platform.
"Taobao has more than 7 million merchants. The size of the platform is so huge that it makes it extremely difficult to tackle the glaring issue of fake products.
"It's still early days and Alibaba could face even more challenges as the platform expands cross-border and more consumers shop on the platform," said Shah.
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Chinese firms buys Segway (2015-04-15,China Daily)
Segway Inc, a self-balancing electric vehicle maker based in the United States, was sold to its Chinese rival Ninebot Inc, the latter said on Wednesday.
Xiaomi Corp was involved in the buyout as the Beijing-based smartphone maker became a major investor of Ninebot.
Xiaomi, along with Sequoia Capital and two other venture capital firms invested $80 million in Ninebot this month.
The companies did not disclose how much Ninebot spent on Segway.
Gao Lufeng, chief executive of Ninebot, said the purchase included all of Segway's assets, including the patents.
Ninebot was founded in 2012. It is the world's largest vendor by shipment.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun indicated the using data of the Ninebot vehicles will be uploaded on Xiaomi handsets. "The products are a part of our ecosystem and Ninebot will fully integrated into the system," Lei said.
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Huawei aims high with innovation, entrepreneurship (2015-04-13,Xinhua)
From a company on a shoestring budget at the time of its founding to a world renowned telecommunications giant, Huawei Technologies proves that commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation pays off.
"The only reason why Huawei exists and flourishes is its aim to better serve customers," said rotating CEO Hu Houkun.
"The only way for Huawei to win the market's trust and respect is through diligence," Hu said.
Founded in 1987 with a registered capital of 21,000 yuan (3,400 U.S. dollars), Huawei took only eight years to achieve an annual sales of 1.5 billion yuan.
In 2004, Huawei launched a subsidiary in Britain. Within three years, it had orders from Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
At the end of March, the company reported a 32.7 percent increase in profits in 2014 to 27.9 billion yuan. Its revenue grew to 288 billion yuan, up 20.6 percent.
The growth was due partly to Huawei's development of consumer business, mainly smartphone sales. Consumer business revenue hit 75.1 billion yuan last year, up 32.6 percent.
A close look at the company's track record reveals the main driver behind its growth is its attention to innovation and research and development (R&D). In 2014, 40.8 billion yuan went on R&D, 29.4 percent more than in 2013 and 14 percent of revenue.
In the past decade, Huawei has spent more than 190 billion yuan on R&D. Among its 150,000 employees, more than 45 percent are engaged in innovation, research and development.
Huawei has been granted 36,511 patents and currently holds over 170 key positions in major international standards organizations, driving the improvement of industry standards.
"Huawei endeavors to offer the people of the whole world, especially in developing countries, fast and convenient connections at an affordable price." Hu said.
Huawei's ascent has not been free from obstacles: popularity breeds suspicion. Security forces in the U.S. and the UK accused the company of spying, but Huawei has been cleared through lack of evidence.
The UK's Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Center, which includes representatives of the British government and intelligence services concluded in a report published at the end of last month that "any risk to UK national security from Huawei's involvement in the UK's critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated."
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ZTE's success validates China's business reform drive (2015-04-12,Xinhua)
Having started as a processing company of fans, electric organs, heaters and telephones when it was born in 1985, the ZTE Corporation of today and its past are worlds apart.
In three decades, the Shenzhen-based company has transformed itself from a low-end processing business with a starting investment of three million yuan (489,000 U.S. dollars) to a world-leading provider of telecom equipment and network solutions worth billions of dollars.
According to its annual business report released in March, the Hong Kong- and Shenzhen-listed company's revenues hit 81.47 billion yuan in 2014, up 8.3 percent year on year; net profits surged 94 percent to 2.63 billion yuan. ZTE's international operations accounted for 50.2 percent of its revenues.
Upon the 30th anniversary of its founding, the company's success is a good case study of how corporate ambition and technological R&D ensure business prosperity, as the government encourages Chinese firms to innovate, become more sophisticated and stretch their muscles overseas.
ZTE's operations cover 160 countries, including major markets such as China, the United States, the EU, Russia and Japan. It is the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the United States and the second-largest in the off-contract market.
Reflecting on the company's history, ZTE Founder and Board Chairman Hou Weigui said he had come to understand that the telecommunications industry would become a cornerstone and engine for a country's development in the modern era, an analysis based on his observations of the global market.
Company President Shi Lirong has described ZTE as a survivor, adept at making bold decisions, taking chances and grasping opportunities. Around 10 percent of the company's revenues go on research and development annually.
"Success has originated from our awareness of the golden opportunities the modern era offers, but also our adherence to innovation and a global mind set," Shi said.
ZTE filed 2,179 patent applications last year. According to data from the World Intellectual Property Organization, only two companies filed more: China's Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (3,442) and Qualcomm Incorporated of the United States (2,409).
After analyzing trends in mobile terminals, Shi said ZTE is currently prioritizing voice control technology and expecting it to propel the sector's future growth.
With cooperation from industry leaders including AutoNavi, Baidu, Nuance and Audience, ZTE launched a Smart Voice Alliance for mobile phones in September. The first alliance of its kind, it was created to integrate and align existing voice technology and resources at each stage from voice control product manufacturers, content providers, software designers to handset makers.
"Outwardly, a Chinese company's success in the global arena relies on products and brands. However, what matters the most is internal innovation in science and technology," Shi said. However, ZTE's global business abroad has not been without challenges. Since 2011, it has been embroiled in a number of patent infringement lawsuits in the European and U.S. markets.
The company beat off patent infringement claims by the United States-based Technology Properties Ltd. last month, according to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). This followed the ITC's Dec. 2013 decision to reject patent infringement claims by InterDigital.
According to Shi, ZTE respects reasonable complaints by other companies, but it will never compromise on abuses of intellectual property.
"If our peaceful negotiations are not respected, the company reserves to right to pursue appropriate and legal means to strike back," he said.
Utilization of internationally established rules and legal weapons becomes especially important to safeguard a company's values when doing business abroad, Shi advised.
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Innovations set to help increase China's economic growth: Expert (2015-04-12,People's Daily)
Figures have shown that two out of the top three international companies which registered the most patent applications via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2014 are Chinese businesses.
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. took first place with 3,442 published Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, followed by the U.S.' Qualcomm Inc. with 2,409 applications and Shenzhen-based ZTE Corp. with 2,179 applications.
"This isn't surprising when looking at the economic performance of China, the U.S., Japanand other European countries as patent filings vary with the business cycle," WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink told Xinhua.
This is good news for China given that "patents are an outcome of innovative activity, so today's innovations sow the seeds for tomorrow's economic growth", said Fink.
WIPO's PCT enables applicants to seek international patent protection for inventions and innovations in 148 countries and regions around the world.
WIPO's data indicates that some 215,000 applications were filed under the treaty in 2014, marking a 4.5 percent increase over 2013.
According to WIPO, China ranked third in total patent applications, with 25,539 applications filed last year, following the U.S with 61,492 applications and Japan with 42,459 applications.
This represents an 18.7 percent annual increase for China, the highest annual growth of all countries for 2014.
WIPO's report also shows that China and the U.S. accounted for 87 percent of the total growth in patent filings last year.
Though China's domestic patent applications took off in the 1980s, the country's global patent involvement harks back to the early 2000s, according to the Chief Economist.
"Since 2002 especially, China has seen an average growth of around 30 percent per year under the PCT system," he said.
This increase in patent applications reflects China's desire to add the "created in China" label to the well-established "made in China" label, according to Fink, who underlined the significance of this shift for China's economic growth.
For global companies such as Huawei and ZTE, "having a strong international patent portfolio is of strategic importance if they want to remain globally competitive", Fink stated.
This is particularly crucial in digital communications, as technological innovations form the backbone of leading digital companies.
According to WIPO, digital communication accounted for two-thirds of all PCT applications filed by Huawei in 2014. Similarly, over three-fifths of all filings made by ZTE were digital communication-related.
This mirrors China's intellectual property profile, as digital communication and computer technology form the bulk of China's filings, indicated Fink.
He also added that China sees substantial patent activity in most technological fields, including electrical machinery, apparatus and energy, medical technology and measurements.
According to analysts, China's diversified innovation system, as well as the international outlook of major Chinese companies, make China increasingly relevant in the intellectual property arena.
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Dual-screen YotaPhone to debut in China (2015-04-12,Xinhua)
An innovative dual-screen smartphone from Russia is set to shake up the crowded Chinese smartphone market when it goes on sale in the country on April 15.
The versatile YotaPhone has been getting a lot of attention because of its novel combining of a high-definition 4.3-inch LCD display on the front with a power-efficient e-ink display on the back.
Song Xiaodong, CEO of Hangzhou Jielan Information Technology Co., the Chinese partner of Yota Devices, told Xinhua that its planned joint venture with Yota Devices is undergoing China's foreign investment examination and approval procedure. But it won't affect the phone sales, which will begin via e-commerce platforms next week.
Song believes that dual-screen phones are the future for the market.
Upon its debut on Chinese B2C e-commerce platform Tmall.com, the price of a YotaPhone with a memory capacity of 32 gigabytes will be set at 4,888 yuan (787 U.S. dollars). That's about the same as the entry-level model of Apple's iPhone 6.
The YotaPhone's price may go up in the future with the updating of the phone's hardware, Song said.
Jielan, based in east China's Zhejiang Province, has contracted a factory in Suzhou City of neighboring Jiangsu Province to produce YotaPhones sold in China. Elsewhere, the YotaPhone is mainly produced in Singapore, according to Song.
Based on Google's Android operating system, the phone is now available in some 20 countries, with Russia accounting for over 70 percent of its sales.
Competition in the smartphone market in China is fierce. In addition to global leader Apple, Chinese vendors including Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE are making headway.
Despite the challenges, Song is optimistic. He said the YotaPhone has 170 patents for the dual-screen technology. The rear e-paper screen has the distinct advantage of eye shielding. Users can check the clock and messages at a glance without touching the phone.
"In the future, Yota may develop a cheaper model similar to the iPhone 5c to cope with downmarket demand," he said.
Jielan's joint venture with Yota Devices is expected to be registered in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, with the Russian firm taking 51 percent of the stake.
Song said that the dual-screen phone has inspired a lot of new innovation in smartphone applications. Jielan plans to set up a number of software firms to develop applications taking advantage of the low-power rear screen.
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Domestic brands given new overseas safeguards (2015-04-10,People's Daily)
New measures were unveiled on Thursday aimed at ensuring the quality of Chinese products sold overseas.
Such merchandise has been increasingly snapped up by foreign customers but remains clouded by concerns over quality and intellectual property rights.
The State Council announced the decision, which involves 10 departments, as part of a nationwide drive to crack down on violations of intellectual property rights and to target producers of counterfeit goods.
A three-year plan will address key products exported to Africa, Arab nations, Latin America and countries and regions along the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road£transcontinental initiatives prioritizing unimpeded trade and connectivity.
Cross-border law enforcement coordination will be improved, including monitoring, evidence collection and judicial assistance, according to a State Council document.
The document calls for efforts to further help Chinese companies to invest and operate overseas and to expand product marketing. It also seeks strengthened negotiations and communications on IPR protection, a key issue for Western countries concerned about counterfeit goods.
The document adds that China will improve IPR coordination and cooperation with countries including the United States. It will also draw up and carry out a working plan for such cooperation with the European Union this year.
China became the world's largest exporter of goods in 2009, and it overtook the US to become the world's largest trading nation in 2013.
Products produced by Chinese companies, including Lenovo and Huawei, have been bought by more foreign consumers, especially in developing countries, according to China's National Image Global Survey 2014.
But Chinese brands are hindered by concerns over low quality and food safety problems, according to the survey, released last month.
Chai Yu, an expert on Latin American economic studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China is aiming to prevent companies from encountering blind competition through continued lowering of prices and quality in the global market.
For example, the Latin American market is a huge one for Chinese products, and improved quality would help to build Chinese brands' reputation and the country's image abroad, Chai said.
Huang Wei, a researcher at the academy's Institute of World Economics and Politics, said the new measures will encourage Chinese enterprises to upgrade business and to guarantee product quality.
The urgency of such a task is highlighted by the announcement of the Silk Road initiatives amid lingering concerns over dumping of Chinese products, Huang said.
Despite China's progress in recent years, any negative impressions about its products and IPR records cannot be tackled overnight, and the country needs to prove itself through its actions, she said.
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Report lifts the lid on mobile patent trends (2015-04-09,China Daily)
Although the United States remains a leader in terms of overall quality and quantity of mobile device technologies, Chinese companies are starting to step up in the industry, according to a report unveiled last week by wireless analyst Chetan Sharma Consulting.
The report, titled Mobile Patents Landscape 2015, is based on analysis of patent applications and granted patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office since 1997.
The report looked at mobile related patents for the 65 top companies from the two IP jurisdictions, which are among the most important in the mobile industry.
Chetan Sharma Consulting analyzed more than 7 million patents granted by the USPTO and EPO during the past two decades to understand how mobile has become a key enabler for technology companies.
The report said that there were 37 companies generating more than $1 billion dollars each in mobile digital services in 2014. This marked a growth from only nine in 2012.
It found that billion-dollar mobile companies were emerging from India, China and Europe, and that Africa and Latin America were not far behind.
IBM topped the list in the number of granted patents in the mobile segment in 2014, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Google. China's Huawei ranked 12th.
Samsung took the lead in the total number of mobile patents from 1997 to the first quarter of this year.
In 2014, China passed European leaders Germany and France to become the third player behind the US and Japan in terms of the number of patent applications.
The nation was also at the top in terms of growth rate.
The report noted that a number of emerging Asian companies, such as Mediatek, Alibaba, and Xiaomi, "have stepped up their IP efforts" and substantially increased filings in the US.
The report noted that an "interesting fact" was that in 2014, for the first time, more than 25 percent of all patents granted in the US were mobile related. The figure grew from about 2 percent in 1991 and 5 percent in 2001.
In contrast, roughly 9 percent of patents granted in Europe are now related to mobile.
Europe saw a 4 percent decline in mobile patents last year, while there was a 16 percent growth in the US market.
"If we look at the patent applications over the last decade, some of the traditional areas of communication have held their ground," the report said. It noted that multiplex communications and telecommunications remained the top two areas where companies compete for intellectual property.
With the advent of the smartphone and tablets, data processing, graphics processing, user interfaces and security have gained significant prominence, the report said.
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Only through quality can China conquer the global market (2015-04-08,Xinhua)
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is celebrating five years of success this week. In its home market, the company has secured a solid niche and is now extending its reach overseas.
Alibaba's voyage to success took somewhat longer. When Jack Ma went to Hannover for the CeBIT exhibition 14 years ago, few people were interested in his small e-commerce firm. A second attempt eight years ago to market goods and services in Europe also ended in failure.
Last month, Ma made a triumphant return to the world's largest high-tech trade fair with a cutting-edge facial recognition payment system developed by his company.
Chinese companies are taking their place on the global stage. Huawei provides telecommunication services in remote parts of Siberia and South American rainforests. China South Railway is making trains for South Africa.
For a long time, "Made in China" was synonymous with poor quality, low prices and fakes. Now, products and services underpinned by innovation are changing the global commercial landscape.
Brands like Alibaba, Lenovo and Huawei are increasingly recognized by consumers abroad, according to a survey on China's global image by China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration (CFLPA).
"Chinese enterprises are more aware of the need to nurture their brands as part of the 'go global' drive," said Wang Haizhong, a brand strategy researcher with Sun Yat-sen University.
The 2014 Fortune Global 500 list featured 100 Chinese companies, in contrast to 128 United States enterprises on the list.
"Chinese enterprises are hardworking, entrepreneurial, market-sensitive and capital-sufficient," said Wang.
INNOVATE, INNOVATE, INNOVATE
Late last month during a State Council executive meeting, Premier Li Keqiang called for an innovative approach to support "Made in China".
Nearly all entrepreneurs interviewed by Xinhua regard "innovation" as their core competence.
The CFLPA survey showed around 64 percent of all overseas respondents making positive comments on Chinese enterprises' ability to innovate and the ratio was even higher in developing countries.
Huawei's Hu Houkun attributes his company's success to persistent technological progress, an open attitude to cooperation and better management.
Huawei spent 40.8 billion yuan (6.6 billion U.S. dollars), 14 percent of its revenue, on research in 2014. Over 45 percent of its 150,000 staff work in R&D. New ideas such as mobile Internet, cloud computing and big data have helped Chinese companies to catch up with (and even overtake) their foreign counterparts.
Huawei filed 3,442 patent applications in 2014, followed by U.S. chip maker Qualcomm. ZTE, another Chinese telecom systems developer, took third place.
"In the personal computer business, it took Kingsoft 26 years to accumulate 300 million users. We collected the same number of mobile users in only three years," said Ge Ke, Kingsoft CEO.
The tide of new technology will bring a new wave of innovation to China, Ge said, and with it more Chinese brands will rise to global prominence.
CULTURE, COMMUNITY, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Chinese firms abroad now actively work to adapt to local culture and engage communities. They take social responsibility seriously. Neglect of local conditions has been fatal to many businesses.
Wu Wei, vice general manager of energy equipment producer Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co.(TBEA), said her company, with training centers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, employs and trains many local workers in every overseas project. About 95 percent of the employees at a TBEA research base in India are locals, and most were trained in China.
To increase its global profile, white goods producer Hisense sponsors the Australian Open tennis tournament, German football club FC Schalke 04 and Formula 1. Yingli Solar, a leading solar panel producer, has twice been a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup.
As internationalization proceeds, many obstacles remain to be cleared, including previous bad investment decisions and discrimination. One of the greatest challenges is the established stereotype of low prices and poor quality, according to Wang.
"To dismiss this stereotype, competent enterprises in key sectors should stand out with high-quality goods and services, and engage in more global events," said Wang.
China Focus: Chinese smartphone makers rise to rival Samsung, Apple
BEIJING, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- China's top smartphone companies challenged Samsung and Apple with surging sales and revenue in 2014, vowing to scramble for a larger share in a global turf war with the top two makers.
As one of the major competitors, telecom behemoth Huawei Technologies reported a 45-percent rise in smartphone shipments in 2014, reaching more than 75 million units.
Sales revenue of Huawei's consumer goods branch, which makes mobile phones and other gadgets, increased 30 percent to 12.2 billion U.S. dollars last year.
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Huawei, connecting the world (2015-04-07,People's Daily)
China-based telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd released its annual report on March 31, 2015. The report shows that the company achieved global sales revenues of 288.2 billion yuan in 2014, up 20.6 percent from the previous year, and the net profit was 27.9 billion yuan, an increase of 32.7 percent.
A communiqu¨¦ issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization on March 19, 2015 revealed that Huawei was the largest patent applicant with 3442 patent applications in 2014. There is no doubt that Huawei has become a leader in the global information and communication industry.
Lead the field in global smartphones in three years
According to Hu HouKun, rotating CEO of Huawei, their goal is to be a leader in the global information and communications technology industry. "We will adopt a more open attitude and work together with global partners to improve the lives of ordinary people," he said.
Huawei started business with only 21,000 yuan, but in 8 years its annual sales had reached 1.6 billion yuan. It set up its first overseas office in the UK in 2004, and won orders from major multinational operators in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in only three years. In addition, in the three years since Huawei launched its customer business in 2012, it has broken into the first division of the global smartphone business. Its high-end mobile phone products are in great demand in the global market.
Globally recognized leader in 5G standards research and development
To date, Huawei has taken core positions in more than 170 standards bodies or open source organizations, and has been granted 36,511 patents. Over the past year, the company has launched the world's first 5G test bed, introduced the first G ? fast prototype and proposed the 5G SCMA (sparse code multiple access) ... Huawei has become a globally recognized industry leader in developing 5G standards.
According to Hu Houkun, the key to Huawei's achievements lies in persistent technological innovation, continuous openness and cooperation, and optimized internal management mechanisms. Huawei invested 40.8 billion yuan in research and development last year, accounting for 14 percent of company revenues. Among its 150,000 employees, more than 45 percent are engaged in innovation, research, or development.
"Customers first" concept wins global trust
Huawei's core value - "customers first" - means that the company exists to serve customers, Hu Houkun said.
Nowadays, the whole world is excited about the future of industrial information technology and digitization. After more than 30 years' reform and opening up, Chinese enterprises have no intention of passing up any opportunity in this industrial revolution. "The new industrial revolution means the coming of a new era where the whole world is being connected. It's essential that Huawe play a leading role in this era," said Hu Houkun.
Huawei's key events in the global market:
1999, set up the first research and development center in Bangalore, India
2001, set up four research and development centers in the U.S.
2005, overseas contract sales exceeded domestic contract sales for the first time
2007, became a partner of all the top operators in Europe
2013, smartphone business breaks into the global Top3
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CCTV, TVB sue set-top maker, allege piracy in US (2015-04-02,China Daily)
Leading Chinese TV providers China Central Television (CCTV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) have sued the makers of a set-top box, alleging unauthorized digital streaming and distribution of their programs in the United States.
The first hearing is expected to be held late this month, the companies' attorney said.
"I can confirm that we anticipate an early hearing in this case," attorney Lance Koonce told China Daily. "(We) indeed just last week filed a motion to accelerate that hearing even further, to late April," he said.
The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers and distributors of TVpad device, which allegedly set up a broadcasting network that illegally streams CCTV and TVB channels using peer-to-peer technology.
A complaint was submitted on March 13 to the US District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. Joining CCTV and TVB as plaintiffs are China International Communications Co Ltd and Dish Network LLC, a Colorado company that holds certain exclusive rights to distribute CCTV and TVB programming in the US.
The plaintiffs' complaint includes direct and secondary copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition.
"Over the past short period of time, CCTV and TVB, and their partner in the US, Dish, become aware of some of the set-top boxes that pirate Chinese content in the United States," Koonce said.
"And particularly recently was the TVpad box which streams Chinese-language programs including CCTV and TVB without their authorization, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year," he said.
Among the defendants are Hong Kong-based Create New Technology Ltd (CNT) - the main manufacturer of the device - and GreatVision Network Technology Co in Shenzhen, which "directly infringed our clients' television programs by streaming them over the Internet to customers in the US," he said.
Users can download free apps, and it allows them to access contents from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, he said.
The device sells for $309 at CNT's online store, with no monthly fees.
The set-top box, which uses the Android operating system, provides access to more than 100 Chinese TV channels, over 40 in South Korea and more than 20 in Japan. TVpad is "the best streaming media device for Chinese living overseas, the website says.
The online store also tells customers that it is "legal to use TVpad," but "the only responsibility of the company is to provide the hardware".
"Although CNT says it is selling the neutral set-top box, and an unknown third party has developed the apps that do the streaming, we alleged in the complaint that these developers either don't exist or are controlled by CNT," Koonce said.
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80% polled buy counterfeit luxury brands: survey (2015-04-02,People's Daily)
A new survey has found that the vast majority of respondents admitted to buying counterfeit goods, with 86 percent saying that fake goods "have gone mainstream," the China Youth News reported on Tuesday.
The Social Survey Center of China Youth Daily surveyed 1,785 people through minyi.net.cn and 3g.qq.com, finding that more than 80 percent admitted to buying counterfeit products. Of these, 52.9 percent blamed it on not being able to afford the real thing, and 44.4 percent had no complaints about the quality of counterfeit products.
Counterfeit buyers expressed various reasons for their choices, including vanity, lack of brand awareness and a robust desire for luxury goods, according to the report.
Wang Yu, a university student whose wardrobe is full of luxury designer brands including Chanel, LV and Adidas, said she bought counterfeit goods because she can't afford the real products.
Liu Junhai, vice president of the China Consumers Association, said counterfeit products have infringed on consumer information rights and manufacturers' intellectual property and trademark rights.
Government should combat the phenomenon and curb demand for counterfeit brands through specific marketing and develop a fair and trustworthy business environment, Liu added.
Some respondents also expressed hope that authorities should strengthen oversight and punishment for those involved in the counterfeit game, while consumers should become more aware of counterfeit goods and control their desire to buy them.
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Chinese IP company joins with US peer (2015-04-01,China Daily)
Chinese online intellectual property trading and service marketplace WTOIP announced in March that it has forged a cooperative relationship with its US counterpart AutoHarvest Foundation to promote IP-related exchanges and communications among companies, investors, engineers and scientists in both countries.
The two organizations started discussing collaboration in December, and have now agreed to rely on their respective advantages in industries, location, capital and human resources to provide comprehensive solutions of turning innovation technology into commercial success, WTOIP reported.
WTOIP aims to provide a large amount of partners, patents, brands and global marketing channels to global IP developers and product innovators through both online and offline networks. It now has more than 600,000 patents and 500,000 trademarks for sale, as well as 110,000 Chinese and foreign members.
It has granted AutoHarvest access to its online and offline user communities, showing its members' product innovations and manufacturing technical solutions to its US partner to find cooperation intentions, as well as providing professional reports highlighting important opportunities in Chinese markets.
For its part, WTOIP will join in AutoHarvest's Innovation Ecosystem.
"We will align well with the AutoHarvest Innovation Ecosystem to bring good opportunities to both members and enterprises by utilizing IP" Xie Xuhui, CEO of WTOIP, told The Detroit News.
Detroit-based AutoHarvest created and operates a unique innovation ecosystem led by some of the most highly respected figures in the automotive and manufacturing industries, including aerospace, defense, IT, transportation and telecommunications sectors.
The nonprofit organization serves as a neutral meeting place for corporations, engineers, scientists, investors and entrepreneurs to transfer intellectual property for new uses.
"AutoHarvest is delighted that WTOIP has become an active partner to do the noble work of building a trusted bridge and superhighway to China for entrepreneurs, SMEs and innovation organizations in automotive and advanced manufacturing," said cofounder of AutoHarvest, Jayson Pankin, The Detroit News reported.
As China emerges as a new source of innovation, many major Western companies are building lucrative businesses in the country.
"I want to help the little guys get that boost. Nine thousand miles and the language barrier - they can't afford an army of people on the ground to figure it out," Pankin told Forbes.
By pooling resources on intellectual property, Pankin said, the two organizations can help connect a company with a new welding technique in Iowa, for instance, with an appliance manufacturer in China. "Our goal is to get people together to help each other," he said.
"I hope that bringing the invention engine of the United States stoked by thousands of small companies to the attention of capable Chinese partners, especially SME groups, will generate impact," Pankin told IAM magazine.
WTOIP and AutoHarvest will participate in the ITTN Technology Transfer Conference in Beijing in April and jointly hold an international IP forum titled "2015 International IP Monetization and Commercialization Forum" in Los Angeles on May 8.
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German institute's patent analysis shows China's lead in Industry 4.0 technology (2015-04-01,Xinhua)
The first paper of a research project revealed on Monday that China has now far outstripped the United States and Germany when it comes to patents for basic technologies of Industry 4.0.
According to the German Fraunhofer Institute of Labor Economics and Organization (IAO), part of its China TechWatch research project involves analyzing developments in Chinese technology.
As the IAO summed up, China is an attractive market for solution providers of Industry 4.0, a term for the technological concepts of cyber-physical systems.
Since 2013, Chinese inventors have filed over 2,500 patents in this field, putting China way ahead of the United States (1,065 patents) and Germany (441), as more than 300 Chinese companies and research institutes have applied patents on Industry 4.0 technologies.
China is not only ahead in terms of the number of patents, but has also developed highly innovative inventions, said the paper.
As it showed, China is moving towards advanced technological fields, from a centralized control system to intelligent, decentralized and self-adaptive control.
In March of this year, the Chinese government announced a new strategic program "Made in China 2025," aimed specifically at promoting Industry 4.0 technologies.
This should grab the attention of the local industry in Germany, said Fraunhofer IAO, adding that China has been working hard on the technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution for years now.
The challenge facing Western companies is to identify high-quality inventions without spending undue time and money, as Fraunhofer IAO pointed out.
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Global conglomerates find their Chinese sweet spots of success (2015-03-30,China Daily)
Three decades after its debut in China, 3M Corp has centered its growth strategy on the tenet of "In China, For China". By finding a close match between its diversified and innovative technologies and the surging demands from various sectors of the local economy, 3M has been able to seize several growth opportunities in the world's largest emerging market.
The China for China approach has also helped the company localize its operations in China. 3M China's business focus has migrated through the stages of imports, local products, and local adaption to fueling local innovation.
The company has a research and development workforce of more than 700 scientists and technicians in China, making it a key contributor to its global R&D network.
Honeywell International Inc
The United States-based Honeywell International Inc, a diversified technology and manufacturing company, changed its growth approach in China in 2004. Though the company started with the selling "West to East" products strategy, it later changed to the unique "East for East" strategy. Through this new strategy, the company has been able to identify China-specific needs and cater to them with locally developed innovation.
In 2014, Honeywell generated more than 700 inventions and more than 110 patents in China. Currently, about 30 percent of its revenues in China come from the "East for East" innovations and products.
Its "East for East" solutions also support its "East to Rest" strategy, or the transfer of China-developed innovation to the rest of the world, developed or high-growth markets alike, where they can be further tailored to meet the needs of various markets served by Honeywell. The company has more than 12,000 employees located in more than 30 cities across the country. About 99 percent of them are local Chinese and one-sixth are scientists and engineers.
The Fairfield, Connecticut, US-based conglomerate decided to invest $15 million on its
"China for China" projects in 2008. These projects aim to support the localization of technology and products, and are positioned to fuel GE's growth in China and around the world. China's first fully homegrown commercial aircraft - the ARJ21-700, which is powered by GE CF34-10A engines - made its maiden flight on Nov 28, 2008.
This was a key step in the country's aviation program, and GE Aviation's on-site engineering team worked closely with customers to ensure a successful first flight.
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Sinotruk to enter developed markets with high-end vehicles (2015-03-27,Xinhua)
China National Heavy-Duty Truck Group Co, the nation's largest heavy truck exporter, is striving to expand its business into overseas high-end markets and make itself a top player in the sector worldwide.
"After exploring overseas markets for over ten years, we have made sound progress in developing countries and now are trying to tap into the high-end markets in developed countries and regions such as Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore," said Cai Dong, general manager of the Shandong-based company, also known as Sinotruk.
"If we are to become a global commercial automobile giant we need to venture into developed countries and make highend vehicles," Cai told China Daily.
"Sinotruk has developed a raft of competitive products, which can rival those manufactured by the world's leading truck makers in quality and operation," he added.
Sinotruk was established in 1956 and was a pioneer in the development of heavy-duty truck manufacturing in China. The company, which previously concentrated on heavy-duty trucks, has developed a full range of commercial vehicles including heavy, medium and light-duty trucks, vans, special-purpose vehicles and construction machinery.
Despite shrinking domestic and overseas demand, Sinotruk still secured orders for 176,000 vehicles last year, up by 9.94 percent from the previous year.
Sinotruk sold 34,000 vehicles abroad, contributing to almost 20 percent of its total sales volume and making the company the largest exporter of heavy trucks in the country for 10 consecutive years. Revenue from overseas sales amounted to 9 billion yuan ($1.45 billion) and accounted for about 13 percent of the total.
"We realized we had to become global more than ten years ago when few China made heavy trucks were being exported," Cai said. He added that the company first put forward a globalization strategy in 2004.
The company currently exports vehicles to 96 countries and regions and has six overseas branches in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South America, Russia and Africa. "Generally we first enter the less developed overseas markets because people there are not focused on well-known Western brands and are attracted to products with comparatively low prices," Cai said.
He noted that the company secured sound market shares in almost all developing countries and more than 30 of its 96 export markets are in Africa, where about 15,000 vehicles are sold every year.
"After gaining brand recognition in these areas, we are now prepared to penetrate into developed markets such as the United States and the European Union, using our high-end products," Cai said. "It is a significant step for sustainable growth in the long run." To achieve this aim, the company has built technical partnerships with top international brands including Steyr in Austria and Mann in Germany.
In 2009, Europe's leading heavy commercial vehicle maker MAN SE, owner of the Mann brand, bought a 25 percent share and one stock share in Sinotruk Hong Kong and signed an agreement to transfer some advanced technologies to the Chinese truck maker.
"Teaming up with global heavyweights enables us to not only introduce advanced technologies and management experience, but also greatly improve our own R&D capability," said Yu Tianming, director of Sinotruk's State-level technology research center, the only one of its kind in China.
The company now holds the largest number of patents among Chinese vehicle makers, with 2,980 patents licensed in total.
Its product lineup for heavy trucks alone grew from one series and 78 variants in 2001 to nine series and more than 3,000 variants today.
Yu said the company has developed world-renowned brands like Sitrak, Howo, Steyr and Hohan, which are respectively designed for high-end, medium-tier and price-sensitive consumers.
"The Sitrak series of heavy trucks, which were jointly developed by Sinotruk and MAN SE, have reached the international advanced level and become one of the company's best sellers," said Liu Wei, vice general-manager of Sinotruk in charge of overseas business.
"With high performance, fuel efficiency and driver comfort, the model is expected to rival foreign high-end brands in the domestic market and help Sinotruk extend its sales network to developed countries," Liu said.
As well as high-quality products and proactive marketing strategies, Liu emphasized sound after-sales services and localization strategies as key elements of Sinotruk's success in overseas markets.
The company built more than 400 service outlets and 300 parts dealerships across the world. "Almost 1,000 technical and sales personnel are sent regularly to our exporting countries to give our customers training on using the vehicles and help them maintain their equipment," Liu said.
"They are sponsored by the company to learn the local languages and cultures to better service our customers," he added.
The company is speeding up construction of overseas assembly plants to further boost its competitiveness by saving transport and labor costs.
In May 2014, Sinotruk signed a $100-million deal with Africa's industrial giant Dangote Group for a new assembly plant to produce trucks in Lagos, Nigeria.
The plant is the eighth Sinotruk has built abroad and is expected to assemble 10,000 heavy trucks a year when complete.
"Other assembly plants are planed to be built in Kazakhstan to embrace the nation's ambitious 'One Belt and One Road' initiatives," Liu said.
Sinotruk is also stepping up efforts to develop environmentally friendly heavy trucks aimed at high-end markets.
The company produced engines that meet the Euro V emission standards in 2011 and got orders to export Euro V heavy-duty trucks to Brazil, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"We are now working to develop Euro VI engines. Although this emission standard won't be implemented in domestic markets in the next few years, we have to do so to fight for market shares in developed countries," Liu said.
Sinotruk aims to increase the share of its exports of vehicles to 30 percent of the total, up from the current 20 percent, he said.
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Companies to dominate tech revolution, says official (2015-03-27,China Daily )
China will highlight the dominant role of companies in technology innovation and establish a market-oriented innovation system, according to a State Council briefing on Friday.
The country will increase companies' say in state innovation decision making, develop an industrial model with businesses taking the lead, carry out inclusive financial and taxation policies for innovation and favor innovative products for procurement.
The decision is part of China's "Opinions on accelerating implementation of innovation-driven development strategy through strengthening institutional reforms" released the same day.
Lack of innovation was identified as a weakness of Chinese companies, and only 14 percent above a certain size undertake research and development (R&D) activities. The ratio of R&D input is only about 0.8 percent, according to the briefing.
Data from the European Patent Office revealed that among the 274 000 patent filings received last year, China submitted nine percent while the US contributed 26 percent.
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Man on a mission to overcome the sound of silence (2015-03-26,China Daily)
Imagine a world without sound. What would it be like if you could not hear the words of a loved one, your favorite music or an alarm in case of danger?
Li Fangping, chairman of the Zhejiang Nurotron Biotechnology Co Ltd, says he shares the feelings of those who live in a soundless world, and that he hopes "I can bring voice to their worlds". Nurotron, the company he founded, specializes in cochlear implant devices.
Already a successful businessman in the 1990s, Li was always pursuing a way of effectively helping society. He insisted on donating money to orphans and supporting children from poor families in mountainous regions.
It was in 2000 he learned there were 27 million people living with hearing impairment in China, a number that continued to grow by 20,000 to 30,000 annually.
Some of those affected, he discovered, would recover their hearing ability with the help of cochlear implant devices, but these were only made in the United States, Austria and Australia, and the high prices and maintenance fees put them beyond reach of the majority of Chinese who would benefit from them.
Li decided that he had to do something and he decided to start a company offering affordable cochlear implant devices to poor people in need.
Fu Qianjie, a senior neurology researcher at the US-based House Ear Institute, and Zeng Fangang, a former chairman of the international electronic cochlear summit, owned a series of patents for a cochlear implant device, yet the headache for the two native Chinese living and working in the US was how apply them to benefit of people in their home country.
They had tried to cooperate with some domestic enterprises, but none was interested because of the huge investment required and slow returns.
Li was in Canada when he first heard about the two professors, and he quickly arranged to meet them.
Some months later, the Nurotron corporation was established in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, with a branch in US and an initial capital investment of 30 million yuan ($4.9 million).
The early days were quite difficult, as the starting capital was almost totally consumed by R&D within the first year.
But Li never gave up, he visited one successful entrepreneur after another and finally raised 150 million yuan for a second round of investment.
And besides the generous investors, many domestic scholars and experts are contributing their knowledge.
Nurotron has recruited a team whose members come from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, the General Hospital of People's Liberation Army, and Beijing Tongren Hospital; these researchers, who are also experienced medical practitioners, have worked together to create China's first cochlear implant device.
After four years of hard work - and silence - Nurotron researchers debuted their first low-cost cochlear implant device in China at the national seminar of implantation on April 24, 2010.
In 2011, it obtained a certificate of implanted bodies from China Food and Drug Administration. In other words, it was allowed to be sold in the market.
Three years later, Nurotron executives, not without pride, laid the foundation stone for their new factory in the Future Technology Zone, which was specially reserved for high-tech enterprises.
This was a milestone in the company's history because it meant their research results were finally ready for production. However, it is Aug 15, 2014 that is regarded as the most important day for the company so far, because the new factory finally opened, and production began.
Officials from the provincial government, the provincial federation of disabled people, and representatives from the main construction company Zhongtian Construction and the main investor Goldman Sachs all participated in the opening ceremony.
An excellent R&D team
"Are the cheaper domestic products comparable to imported ones? That's the question often asked by consumers in China. Nurotron faces the same question, with people often voicing doubts about the performance of its cochlear implants given the cheaper prices. The answer lies in our team," said Li.
Besides the previously-mentioned Fu and Zeng, they also have renowned experts in the field such as Robert Shannon. The University of California, the University of Miami, and the University of Washington also participated in the company's R&D.
Back in China, Tsinghua University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fudan University, Tongren Hospital of Beijing and the PLA General Hospital have all made contributions.
As many as 87 percent of its employees have a college diploma, which is rare in China. This high-quality team ensured that Nurotron can produce low-cost quality products.
That's why, in September 2012, Nurotron was listed by US-based Red Herring rating agency as one of the top 100 innovative enterprises in Asia. Two months later, Nurotron appeared on the list of the top 100 around the globe.
Glad to hear it
For Li, however, the highest honor is the good words of users. Wei Yong is a domestic securities analyst who is often invited to share his predictions about the financial market on TV.
When Wei was still a child, his parents found that he heard and spoke slower than his peers; later the doctor diagnosed him as having a congenital hearing impairment. As a child he had to study with a hearing aid. Yet he worked hard and received a degree in finance, working in several renowned domestic securities agencies.
However, as time elapsed, Wei found his hearing deteriorated so abruptly that even a hearing aid could no longer help him. Implanting a cochlear implant device was the only way he would hear again.
Between expensive, imported cochlear implant devices and a domestically produced Nurotron cochlear implant device, Wei immediately chose the latter: "With equal performance and a lower price, why not choose Nurotron?" After a successful operation, he could once again talk with TV hosts. When discussing the title of a program he was to participate in, he insisted on "Persistence and excellence".
"I'm not lucky enough to have natural hearing, but I'm lucky to have met Nurotron. Friends, as long as you persist in working hard, you will meet the right opportunity and will be able tell the world how excellent it is." Nurotron staff members also take it as their motto: to persist and prove they are excellent.
Another patient, a former soldier, could enjoy a subsidy from the government, yet he chose Nurotron in order to support the new domestic industry. Upon hearing his grandson once again, he cried.
The researchers cried, too, upon hearing that the old soldier was so happy.
"He trusts Nurotron and Nurotron has proved itself worth his trust," one of them said.
Even though it costs much less than foreign products, the company's cochlear implant devices are still quite expensive, and implanting one often involves a heavy financial burden.
Since Li first raised the idea, he endeavored to include Nurotron products in the social medical insurance list to make them affordable to more people who would benefit from a cochlear implant.
In 2015, Nurotron successfully persuaded the provincial authorities to include its cochlear implant devices in the social medical insurance list, which means the social insurance fund pays a huge percentage of the costs.
Entering the international market
In 2012, Nurotron received a CE certificate from the European Union, which meant it was granted access to the European market. Being only the fourth company with a market permit of this kind, Nurotron became immediately popular in Europe.
Scholars and ear doctors from overseas began visiting Nurotron, too.
"India, Egypt, Germany, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Spain, Columbia and Greece", said Li with excitement, "These are only some of the nations whose doctors visited us."
These doctors brought Nurotron back to their homelands.
On April 22, 2014, the first implementation of a Nurotron cochlear implant device was successfully done in Columbia. "The case makes us more confident" said Li at last, "we will make more people in this world hear again."
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University's IP institute to aid tech transfer (2015-03-25,China Daily)
An institute for intellectual property management was established in the School of Management at Zhejiang University on March 23.
It will provide support for Chinese enterprises seeking international competition and boost the country's intellectual economy's development.
The move was the first time one of China's top business schools established an institute specializing in IP management education, training and research.
The number of patent applications and related research and development investment in China is rapidly growing, but scholars in IP studies in the country are mainly concentrated in the legal community, said experts from the university. Chinese economists and management specialists working in the field are very rare.
Chinese enterprises are still lagging behind those in Europe and America in terms of IP management, they said.
"In recent years, more Chinese companies looked to expand globally and participate in international competition, which has resulted in an inevitable need for a large number of IP management personnel," said Wu Xiaobo, dean of the school.
"In this regard, China's business schools will play a very important role in training."
The business school is based on China's private economy and has done exhaustive studies on China's private enterprises' management and development.
As China has entered into a new development stage where knowledge is an engine for economic development, the institute will also work to promote closer connections between universities, institutes and industries, said the dean.
Experts said technology transfer in universities and research organizations has long been a difficulty. Achievements of universities are insufficiently protected and developed, because scientific research personnel are not always in tune with business operations and lack a deep understanding of market demand.
Enterprises often want to develop more products with market competitiveness and cutting-edge technology using the skills of universities and research bodies, however, they often fail to find reliable scientific results with IP protection.
"IP has become a strategic resource and important competitive factor for the country's development, and an important prop to build up its innovation capacity. And during this process, universities and research institutions are playing an increasingly important role," said Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office.
"So far, about 70 percent of the country's basic research and 50 percent of high and new technologies are finished in universities and research institutions," said Shen.
"But the outcomes of intellectual property among them are relatively less," he said, noting that more efforts should be made to boost technology transfer.
Wu Zhaohui, deputy president of Zhejiang University, said they "invested a large amount of funds in research over the past years and achieved a lot".
"Based on this, we are also working actively to commercialize the achievements. So far, we have established good partnerships with a number of enterprises," Wu added.
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Increase in patent applications evidence of Chinese innovation (2015-03-25,People's Daily)
The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has just released its 2014 report. It shows that 2014 saw the largest increase in the number of international patent applications from China, and that Chinese innovation in the field of intellectual property has become the most important driver in the growth of international patent applications. Experts believe that China's outstanding performance proves the global competitiveness of Chinese business.
In 2014, a total of 215,000 patent applications were filed under the "Patent Cooperation Treaty" of the WIPO, an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year. China became the largest contributor with for 25,539 applications, almost 20% up on 2013. It was the only country to achieve a double-digit increase.
WIPO's PCT system is an international agreement aimed to help applicants obtain patent protection in multiple countries. 148 countries have joined the system ¨C China subscribed in 1994.
WIPO chief economist Carsten Fink told reporters from People's Daily that China's outstanding performance last year reflected the growth of China's overall economy and the continuous improvement of its capacity for innovation.
China has become the world's second largest investor in R&D, surpassed only by the US, while the development of China's economy continues to have a positive impact on China business and its capacity for innovation, according to Fink.
In 2014, three telecommunications companies from China and the US topped the list in WIPO patent applications. China's Huawei surpassed Japan's Panasonic with 3,442 applications to become the NO.1 applicant, followed by the US Qualcomm (2,409 applications), and China's ZTE (2,179 applications).
Another four Chinese enterprises entered the top 50. Huawei and Tencent boasted the largest growth. Fink's view is that this indicates that a growing number of Chinese companies are becoming involved in the competition to innovate on a global scale.
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British inventor heads to China with rare timepiece invention (2015-03-25,Xinhua)
A British inventor is heading to Shanghai to sell his rare timepiece -- a three-meter-high clock priced at around 4.5 million U.S. dollars.
Dr. John Taylor is expecting the clock, Dragon Chronophage, to sell for an estimated 4.5 million U.S. dollars during China's leading international design event which starts Friday.
The multi-millionaire Taylor, who holds 400 patents for his inventions, described his clock as one of his proudest inventions.
Speaking at his workspace on the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea halfway between England and Ireland, Taylor said: "Clocks are boring -- all they do is to tell the time. I wanted a clock which was entertaining."
The Dragon Chronophage, one of three in a series of similar clocks made by the inventor, will be shown in the Collectible Design Hall at Design Shanghai.
Weighing 450 kg, the clock -- which translates from Latin as "time eater" -- is made of gold-plated stainless steel and formed using a special underwater explosion technique.
Through the use of concentric circles on the face, the seconds, minutes and hours are shown in a way that's never been seen before. The moving dragon on the clock appears to swallow a pearl each and every minute, seen as a sign of good luck.
Taylor created the clock in tandem with a Chinese university, inspired by Einstein's theory of relativity as well as the pioneering work of horologist John Harrison who received the first Longitude Prize in 1765 for his Marine Chronometer.
Taylor said his clock combines timeless Western and Eastern culture with staggering attention to detail and jewelry standard quality.
After his journey to Shanghai, Taylor will return to the Isle of Man to continue work on his fourth great chronophage, commissioned by a private buyer, who so far remains anonymous.
Taylor's most successful invention is the thermostat used in cordless electric kettles that makes its distinctive clicking sound as it switches.
His latest gadget is a solar cooker for developing countries where there are no power supplies.
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Shanghai provides patent protection for innovation (2015-03-23,People's Daily)
In Shanghai, innovation is the current buzzword for industries, researchers and start-up entrepreneurs. Those who come up with pioneering ideas for new products, processes and systems naturally want to attract investment and enjoy any financial benefit that accrues.
That's where patents come into play. But experts say that too few Chinese companies are developing comprehensive patent strategies.
"Very few Chinese companies have tried their best to secure as many patent rights as possible in every potential market, as American companies are doing," said Lu Guoqiang, director of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration. "They don't seem to fully understand how patents can help them restrict the development of possible competitors and ensure that they enjoy the benefits of what they create."
The administration last year received 81,664 patent applications, a 5.5 percent decrease from the previous year due to a change in subsidy policies. However, the number of patents approved rose 3.7 percent to more than 50,000. Forty-four percent of those patents are related to new inventions.
"Mayor Yang Xiong has listed intellectual property development as one of this year's major tasks in the latest annual report," said Lu.
In China, patents are available in three categories: new inventions, new utility devices, and new artistic creations.
Patent applicants include companies, colleges, research institutes and individuals, but the bulk of them ¡ª 70 percent ¡ª are companies. They submit their applications to the Chinese National Patent Division of the State Intellectual Property Office via its branch office in Shanghai.
Office experts vet the ideas, checking databases to see if an invention is really new and checking whether claims about patent products are valid.
Foreign companies wishing to extend patent rights in China have to submit applications to Chinese authorities directly or via the counterparts in their own countries under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Foreigners and foreign subsidiaries without business offices in China, as well as people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, are required to file applications to patent agencies appointed by the Patent Granting Office under the State Council, China's cabinet.
Patents disputes are usually handled by local intellectual property administrations and courts, instead of the state office. Last December, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court opened in the Pudong New Area.
China's first patent law came into effect in April 1985, as the nation was embarking on major economic reforms and opening its markets to the world. The forerunner of today's Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration was established that same year.
Its job is to process applications, collect patent fees and provide services, including mediating patent disputes.
The number of valid invention patents has increased from one in 1985 to 56,515 at the end of last year. That translates to 23.7 invention patents for each 10,000 permanent residents in the city.
Lu said the mayor's plan calls for increasing that average ratio to 26.
"With a population of over 24 million and low intellectual property awareness in many companies, the target of 26 is a challenge," he said.
The fees for patent applications and examination ranges from 800 yuan (US$128) to 4,500 yuan, and annual fees to retain patent rights are between 600 and 8,000 yuan, depending on categories they belong to and years they have been possessed. Under former policy, all applicants were eligible to receive subsidies that covered nearly all the costs of application and annual fees for the first three years after a patent was granted. That policy changed in 2012 to apply only to those who had successfully received patents.
Lu recently asked district governments in the city to adopt incentive policies for patent holders, especially in technological innovation.
The changes have been welcomed by companies.
"Some patents require less investment in research and can bring less revenue to the government, so it is unfair to treat all patents alike," Tony Chuang, vice president of Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Shanghai) Corp, said.
SMIC spends about US$200 million on research and development each year, and it has nearly 5,000 patents across the world. It spends US$1-2 million every year on applications for new patents and retention of granted ones. It received approval for 244 patents in China last year, topping other companies in Shanghai.
Lu said Chinese companies hold their invention patents, on average, for six years, compared with nine years overseas. Invention patents are available for 20 years, and patents in the other two categories can be granted for up to 10 years, as long as holders pay annual retention fees and there are no challenges to the validity of the rights.
"Many invention patents held by Chinese are not sought for other business purposes," Lu said. "Some are simply sought to enrich individual resumes and improve the chances of career promotion, or to create eligibility for other work-related subsidies. Once those goals are achieved, the patent holder stops paying the annual fees and lets the patent rights lapse."
In fact, less than 10 percent of all the patents granted in Shanghai have been applied industrially, he said.
SMIC's Chuang said his company has never dropped any of its patents since 2000. It spends US$5 million in annual fees to keep patents active.
He recalled the time when a foreign company alleged that SMIC had infringed one of its patents in the US. Chuang discovered that the foreign company had actually infringed SMIC's patent rights in China. Negotiations resulted in a small amount of compensation.
Patent tending is such complicated work that SMIC contracts that responsibility to a patent agency. There are at least 90 such agencies in the city.
Tang Guohua, a partner of Watson & Band law firm, said the quality of patent agencies in Shanghai varies.
"Some agents only help submit application documents, filling in required forms from information provided," he said. "Others, like us, study the inventions or innovative ideas closely and seek additional information where necessary to do a perfect application."
Fees for service also vary, he said.
"Some charge several hundred yuan, while we charge 10,000 yuan for each application," he added.
Documentation requires technical skill and industry experience.
"When applicants don't list enough claims for rights protection, they may lose the opportunity to seek redress for infringements," said Tang, "Patent agents need to know the law, technology and patent procedures."
Lu agrees. The document seeking patent rights for Chinese companies usually contains seven to eight pages, but in foreign countries, it can run to 20 pages.
His administration provides training sessions for people dealing with patents, and all patent agents are required to hold professional licenses, Lu said.
Wang Xiao, from Evalueserve, a global consulting firm offering research, analytics, and data management services, said the patent services market in China is not adequately developed or utilized.
"Many transnational companies entrust us to research patent information before making decisions on technological research," Wang said. "But few Chinese companies have come to us yet. Most still focus on applications for patents, rather than on developing patent strategies."
Lu said he is gratified so see companies like SMIC and telecommunications giants like Huawei Technologies and Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corp making full use of patents. His office is developing new strategies for patent services, he added.
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Home brands ring louder overseas (2015-03-23,People's Daily)
A promoter displays one of the latest smartphones from ZTE Corp, the Blade L2, during its launch in Singapore on Aug 13, 2014. The Chinese telecom company is among a growing number of Asian brands that are challenging the dominance of Apple and Samsung in world market.[Provided to China Daily]
Even though China's top 10 largest mobile phone exporters were still the international brands such as Apple and Samsung and their original equipment manufacturers, Chinese mobile phone manufacturers£led by TCL, ZTE and Huawei£saw their market share increase by 1.3 percentage points to 7.9 percent in 2014, according to the General Administration of Customs.
TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd came 11th on the list, while Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp were in 13th and 14th place in terms of their export volume.
Xiaomi Corp roared ahead in 2014, with its ranking jumping to 37th place in 2014 from 69th a year earlier. Its export value increased more than nine times last year and the volume of its exported mobile phones shot up almost 20 times year-on-year.
"Better experiences of mobile phone applications and operating systems have become the major reason for consumers to opt for phones made by Chinese companies," said Geng Yan, general manager of the Internet industry research center of CCID Consulting.
Coolpad Group Ltd saw its sales revenue in overseas markets increase by 300 percent in 2014 to reach 2 billion yuan ($319 million) in 2014. For Coolpad, which has businesses in the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, this year will be crucial for the company in terms of overseas expansion, as it aims at achieving an annual growth rate of 100 percent in the next three to five years.
Based on Lenovo's sales numbers in the first three quarters provided by consultancy firm IDC, it is estimated that the company could have sold at least 90 million mobile phones in 2014, including sales of Motorola smartphones, which Lenovo acquired for $2.9 billion in 2014.
Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo Group Ltd, said in an earlier interview that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility helps provide Lenovo with opportunities to enter markets outside China, including North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and the rest of Asia. Motorola has also had extensive operations with the world's top 50 operators.
More importantly, Lenovo will be able to obtain the 2,000 patents that Motorola holds. For most Chinese companies, the lack of patents makes it very difficult to enter mature markets such as North America, Western Europe and Japan.
According to figures provided by TCL at the beginning of this year, the company sold a total of 73.49 million mobile phones in 2014, 85 percent of which were in the ever-growing overseas market.
TCL was one of the first Chinese mobile phone makers to venture overseas. By acquiring Alcatel's mobile phone business in 2004, it has rapidly upgraded in terms of backup technology. Meanwhile, its distribution channel of operators has largely been boosted by Alcatel's overseas network.
ZTE has long been the largest Chinese mobile phone vendor in the United States by working closely with local operators. By the end of 2013, more than 95 percent of its phones sold in the US were completed by operators, among which AT&T took the lion's share by selling 53 different models of ZTE phones.
Huawei sold 75 million mobile phones in 2014, among which 40 percent were sold in overseas markets. Emerging markets such as the Middle East, Africa and Latin America saw the volume grew threefold last year. Apart from the US, Huawei has sought cooperation with 45 of the world's leading operators.
Xiaomi undoubtedly grew the most rapidly last year. It sold 61.12 million mobile phones in 2014. According to the third quarter report of 2014 provided by market research firm StrategyAnalytics, Xiaomi's shipments of smartphones as well as its market share rose to third place globally, only after Apple and Samsung.
Southeast Asian countries were its major targets in terms of exploring overseas markets.
According to the General Administration of Customs, China exported 1.31 billion mobile phones in 2014, up 10.6 percent year-on-year. The total value of exports surged 21.3 percent from a year earlier to $115.3 billion by the end of last year.
Last year also witnessed the first time that mobile phones have overtaken laptops and tablets in terms of export value in China.
Exports to the Middle East and Africa increased the most rapidly in 2014. More than 43 million mobile phones were exported to the Middle East last year, up 67.75 percent than in 2013. The value of exports grew 68.61 percent to $3.64 billion.
The number of mobile phones exported to Africa soared 59.78 percent to reach 25 million, with the value of exports up 65.96 percent to $1.21 billion.
The United States remained the largest overseas market for Chinese mobile phones. A total of 130 million mobile phones were shipped to the US, up 20.24 percent year-on-year, with its value of exports increased by 24 percent to reach $24.9 billion.
Even though the growth rate contracted slightly in the European market, Chinese manufacturers still managed to ship 129 million mobile phones to Europe, up 3.79 percent year-on-year. The value of exports increased 13.83 percent to $17.95 billion.
The average price of exported mobile phones increased $7.7 per unit to reach $87.9 last year. This is also the fourth consecutive year to see prices increase since the average price plummeted to the bottom of $61.6 each in 2010.
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Mobile innovations key to China's economic transformation (2015-03-22,China Daily)
In a government work report published early this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to promote the spread of mobile technology in industry and society while strengthening the convergence of IT and emerging industries.
Independent experts have viewed this as part of a strategy designed to help accelerate the transformation of the "new normal" in a slowing Chinese economy. Li's message also presents new business opportunities for high-tech industries.
Findings from a new report by the Boston Consulting Group has provided similar insights. It found that mobile technologies account for 3.7 percent of China's GDP, or $365 billion. That figure is poised to grow to 4.8 percent of its GDP by 2020.
China now has more than 600 million mobile Internet users, making it the largest market in the world.
The rapid spread of wireless Internet access and the fast pace of innovation provide an important opportunity for the Chinese government to transform words into deeds.
As China's economy restructures, mobile technology is expected to play an even more important role.
By the end of February, the number of Chinese 4G users will reach 138 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Some 10.7 percent of mobile phone users have embraced the new technology. More than 50 percent of total mobile connections in China were 3G or 4G by the end of last year. The 3G or 4G mobile phones made in China are used in markets around the world. Chinese OEM 3G or 4G handset exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 50 percent from 2004 to 2014 and approximately 95 percent year-on-year in 2014.
"4G is one of the most resonating engineering miracles in history," said Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer at Qualcomm Inc. Qualcomm, a US headquartered wireless technology leader and innovator, is among the global tech giants that saw the China opportunity early on.
Qualcomm entered China in the late 1990s and established close partnerships with local carriers and device makers on network deployment and device launches.
In the past five years, Qualcomm supported successful launches of nearly 3,000 Chinese OEM or ODM devices in China and overseas, including those from Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Xiaomi and OPPO. The company is committed to help globalize Chinese OEMs and expand their business success to international markets.
In 2007, only five out of the world's top 40 mobile phone makers were located in China. By the end of 2013, this number increased to 17, and analysts predict this number will continue to rise.
In 2014, Qualcomm announced an expansion of its longstanding relationship with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, one of China's largest and most advanced semiconductor foundries. The partnership has led to SMIC's major milestone of producing high-performance, low-power mobile processors using cutting-edge advanced 28nm technology.
According to Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO and executive director of SMIC, the collaboration with Qualcomm represents a significant long-term growth driver for SMIC in support of Qualcomm and their customers globally.
In both developed and emerging economies, mobile technologies are delivering enormous benefits in forms of connectivity to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the world economy.
Qualcomm sees China as a source of innovation with both local and global impacts, therefore, it has created a China-specific investment fund of $150 million to further the development of semiconductor and mobile technologies for the Internet, e-commerce, education and health industries. The company has already invested in more than 20 enterprises based in China.
A new report by BCG based on surveys in Brazil, China, Germany, India, South Korea and the United States found that mobile technologies account for 3.7 percent of China's GDP, or $365 billion - the second-largest in the world.
That figure is poised to grow to 4.8 percent of its GDP by 2020 due to the global expansion of China's manufacturing capacity and its strong patent position in mobile technologies.
China is now the third-largest source of mobile technology patents worldwide, according to the report commissioned by Qualcomm but produced independently by BCG.
The mobile value chain generated revenues of almost $3.3 trillion worldwide in 2014 and is directly responsible for 11 million jobs globally.
Due to wide deployment of affordably priced 2G and 3G services, Chinese consumers have rapidly adopted mobile technologies. China is now the world's largest smartphone market, and Chinese consumers value mobile technologies at $3,300 per year, or 43 percent of the average annual income.
Mobile technology also levels the playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises, the report found, which is in line with the Chinese government's desire to boost the development of China's lackluster SMEs. "Mobile technology has been a huge driver of economic growth - creating jobs and improving consumers' lives," said David C. Michael, a senior partner and a coauthor of the report.
"But much more innovation is still needed. Policymakers have an important role to play in sustaining innovation and R&D investment in mobile technologies."
The vast majority of surveyed consumers still want faster data speeds, increased wireless coverage, improved battery life and future improvements - at a time when data traffic is already expected to increase by 1,000 times within a decade.
Such future breakthroughs, BCG says, depends on continuing the policies that enabled past growth rate, this includes "strong patent protection to encourage large and risky investments in mobile technology innovation", and preservation of the wireless industry standards process that bringstogether companies from throughout the industry to solve complex technology problems and make those solutions widely shared.
Mollenkopf said that when regulators and legislators are re-examining patent laws and pondering the best ways to nurture innovation, it is worth taking a moment to look at mobile evolution and the mobile revolution, and think about what we must do to keep these advances going. The reason for strengthening protection of intellectual property rights in mobile technology is self-evident - no advancement or breakthrough happens in a vacuum. Companies focused on core mobile technologies invest a larger share of revenue - 21 percent - in R&D, second to only biotechnology, and more than all other R&Dheavy industries, according to the report.
The BCG study finds a direct correlation between these technological advances and their economic benefits, and the rule-of-law systems that allow this innovation to take place and be brought to market.
It notes the core technology innovators for 2G, 3G and 4G wireless take enormous risks by spending heavily on research and development with no guarantee of return on investment.
BCG recommends a number of actions that governments and policymakers should take.
They should incentivize technology innovators through strong patent protection and market-driven licensing. They can also support collaborative, industry-driven standards. They should also ensure continuous allocation and availability of additional radio spectrums.
"With mobile broadband connections expected to exceed 8 billion by 2020, the demand for additional capacity will continue to accelerate," said Mollenkopf.
"Qualcomm is investing in breakthrough mobile technologies so that consumers and businesses around the world can benefit from these new capabilities."
The mobile technology behind this age of connectivity enhances and defines daily lives - from conducting phone calls, sending messaging outside of the home and workplace, to enabling the Internet of Things and innovative wearable devices.
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China plans to implement e-cigarette regulations (2015-03-21,China Daily)
China is set to regulate the production, sale and use of increasingly popular e-cigarettes, according to a senior health official.
The move is aimed at protecting people from the new nicotine-delivering alternative to traditional cigarettes, the official said.
Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi.
China has the highest number of smokers in the world - about 350 million - and supplies more than 80 percent of e-cigarettes globally in a market valued at $3 billion. But e-cigarettes in the country are not covered by any regulations.
"E-cigarettes have rapidly become popular across the world. China will act ... to protect people, particularly as the nation has reached a crucial stage for tobacco control in general," Mao said.
"The health authority will coordinate related agencies and lobby for regulation of the sector," he said.
However, Mao said there are uncertainties surrounding the issue - such as how to regulate the emerging product - and more research needs to be done to find a proper solution.
Due to the lack of regulation, e-cigarettes are widely available in China on the streets or at online stores.
"They target the young with a variety of fancy flavors, and have become another public health concern," Mao said.
Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, said, "They will attract young people to smoking, and I recommend that national governments abandon or at least regulate them."
According to Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO's Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention Department, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Brazil have banned e-cigarettes, while others have regulated them as tobacco products or as medicinal products. "But the bottom line is to regulate them," he said.
Steps and approaches to be taken have to be decided by governments according to their local context and their implementation capacity, Bettcher added.
He suggested regulations to maximize potential health opportunities and to minimize the number of nonsmokers taking to e-cigarettes.
Suggestions by the WHO on e-cigarettes include preventing their use among nonsmokers, particularly the young, prohibiting unproven health claims, and banning or restricting advertising and promotion.
Bettcher called for immediate action, saying the tobacco industry has made inroads into the increasingly profitable sector.
Li Baojiang, deputy director of the Economic Research Institute at the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, has said that work has started on the research and development of e-cigarette patents and brand names.
He said that in 2013 there were about 900 e-cigarette manufacturers in China, a year-on-year increase of 200 percent. Exports of e-cigarettes in 2013 were valued at 3.5 billion yuan ($570 million), a year-on-year increase of 150 percent.
"Overseas producers are tapping into the Chinese market," he said.
Vivek Murthy, the United States' surgeon general, said he is concerned about e-cigarettes and "this is an area where we are in desperate need of clarity".
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Xiaomi steps lightly into US market (2015-03-20,China Daily)
The United States is the world's largest mobile phone market in dollar terms, but also the most competitive, where phone sales are largely controlled by telecom carriers and Apple holds sway. It is going to be very tough for any to dip its toes in Apple's home turf, but Xiaomi - a 5-year-old Chinese smartphone startup - is about to undertake this valiant effort.
In February, Xiaomi unveiled its plan for the market, announcing that in a few months it will launch its first online sales site, Mi.com, directly selling items from earphones to smart bands to American consumers. But Xiaomi's flagship line of smartphones is not coming along for the ride.
The industry is particularly curious about Xiaomi's potential to make a dent in the United States.
Although Xiaomi already sells internationally, it is looking at the huge developing countries such as India and Brazil, shunning markets like the United States. As the Chinese market nears saturation, the brand has turned its focus on the emerging markets to bolster its hoped surge to 100 million handsets worldwide by the end of 2015.
"The tentative step onto the American market is critical to its global expansion," said Wang Jingwen, mobility analyst from consultancy Canalys China. "The move will raise its brand awareness as a premium product globally. At the same time, engaging American consumers with its line of smart-tech wearables and headphones will help Xiaomi come to know local preferences and test whether its business model can work there."
A clever social media strategy has helped Xiaomi build frenzied support from young and trendy Chinese. It has relied mostly on Internet sales and word-of-mouth buzz, spending little on traditional marketing. Xiaomi has an unusual way of developing software, tapping tens of millions of customers for ideas and updating its software once a week, as opposed to the several times a year that Android and iOS get new features.
Xiaomi's vice-president Hugo Barra who helms the overseas expansions, for example, has been quoted by Reuters as saying that the company is keen on being in the conversation in the US and it might put its self-branded headphones in front of US audiophiles and tweak the product depending on their detailed feedback.
The company is eschewing bigger-ticket items like phones and tablets for now partly because of the United States' carrier-sales and phone subsidy structure, which will evaporate the edge Xiaomi gained by selling cheap phones.
Another snag is its small patent portfolio, leaving Xiaomi very vulnerable to lawsuits from competitors.
In February, Qualcomm Inc, the world's largest mobile chipmaker and investor of Xiaomi, was fined a record 6.08 billion yuan ($975 million) for violating China's antitrust rules. The US company also pledged to change the way it practiced the cross-licensing policy in which clients surrender their patents to Qualcomm in exchange for its technology.
With the protection of the cross-licensing contract they have signed with Qualcomm, smaller smartphone vendors can use patents of larger players for free.
Milly Xiang, an analyst at research firm IDC, told China Daily in an earlier story that young vendors with fewer patents may face lawsuits if companies such as Lenovo Group Ltd and ZTE Corp stopped signing cross-licensing deals with Qualcomm.
Without the protection of Qualcomm, Xiaomi, founded in 2010 as a lean start-up, has to be cautious in patent issues.
"The shortcut to building a huge patent portolio is the way as Lenovo bought Motorola's smartphone division last October," said Wang Jingwen. Some 2,000 patents and a large number of patent cross-licensing deals go with Motorola to Lenovo. But for now Xiaomi has no such a hint.
In 2014, Xiaomi successfully applied for 2,318 tech patents. Of those, 665 were approved overseas.
Lei Jun, the co-founder of the company, has been quoted as saying that Xiaomi indeed doesn't have enough patents right now, since it is still a startup company that only has five years' history but he is sure that Xiaomi will have more than 10,000 patents around the world 10 years later.
Xiaomi came out of nowhere to become China's fastest-selling mobile brand. In 2014, Xiaomi had its worldwide sales at 61 million handsets, a rise of 227 percent on the year earlier, making it the sixth-biggest mobilephone firm in the world. In China, Xiaomi had leapt ahead of all its rivals, foreign and local, by the final quarter of last year, to become the biggest smartphone vendor.
Wang said Mi Band, a fitness tracker, is expected to be a boost in Xiaomi's first foray in the US market. Launched last August, Mi Band is able to connect over Bluetooth to Android 4.4 devices, comparable to other fitness bands on the market - it monitors daily activities, wakes up users when they oversleep, lasts 30 days on a single charge, and is water resistant.
"Its jaw-dropping price tag of less than $13 will make it stand out in the market, which undercuts every fitness band on the market," Wang added.
Xiaomi has another reason for its confidence, as it has already enjoyed some brand awareness in the United States.
In the American market, Xiaomi also has to compete with those from its homeland, such as Huawei and ZTE. Although conquering the US will be harder than dominating the home market, Xiaomi's confidence will be boosted by its financial firepower.
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China telecom giants lead int'l patent filings in 2014: WIPO (2015-03-20,Xinhua)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Thursday said China's telecom giants Huawei and ZTE listed as among the top three international patent applicants in 2014 as the country saw a double-digit increase in patent filings.
Under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Huawei, with 3,442 published applications, overtook Panasonic of Japan as the largest applicant in 2014.
U.S.-based Qualcomm was the second largest applicant in 2014, with 2,409 published applications, while China's ZTE took third place with 2,179 PCT applications.
Among the top 50 applicants, Huawei saw the largest increases in patent filings (1,332), followed by Tencent (727) and Microsoft (652). In contrast, Japan's Panasonic and Sharp companies saw the largest declines.
WIPO said the United States was the primary country of origin for patent filers in 2014, with 61,492 applications and 7.1 percent growth. Japan followed with 42,459 applications, representing a 3 percent decline on 2013.
Applicants from China filed 25,539 applications, an 18.7 percent annual increase. Among the top 10 PCT-filing countries, China is the only country that saw double-digit growth in 2014.
WIPO noted that for the first time since 2007, European Union countries recorded growth in patent filings, with strong growth coming from France and Britain.
"The rapid growth in international patent applications underscores the increasing importance of intellectual property as it moves from the periphery to the center of the global economic system," said WIPO's director general, Francis Gurry.
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'Weixin' trademark bid denied (2015-03-18,China Daily)
Though Trunkbow Asia Pacific (Shandong) Co filed to trademark the name Weixin before Tencent Inc rolled out its wildly popular social media software, a ruling by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court has upheld administrative denials of the application.
Weixin is known as WeChat in English.
Trunkbow developed a communication app in 2010 that shows a caller's phone number and location, and named it "Weixin", according to reports in the Beijing Morning Post.
The company in Shandong province applied for the trademark with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in 2010 and was given preliminary approval in August 2011.
Yet after Zhang Xinhe, a third party in the trademark case, raised an objection to the application later that year, the trademark office rescinded Trunkbow's approval in 2013.
The office ruled that the Weixin mobile messaging app from Tencent launched in January 2011 rapidly gained widespread use. If Trunkbow succeeded in using the name for information and call services, it would possibly mislead WeChat users, said the office.
Trunkbow then appealed the ruling to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board at the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The board upheld the original denial in October last year.
Trunkbow followed with a lawsuit against the trademark review board asking the court to overturn the decision.
The company claimed that its use of Weixin and the trademark application were both earlier than filings by Tencent.
In response, the court said though the company applied for registration earlier, Tencent launched Weixin before the preliminary approval of Trunkbow's application.
The app now has some 600 million registered users, according to the Xinhua news agency.
With many government agencies, schools and banks using public Weixin accounts, Trunkbow could cause inconvenience and even damage if its application was approved, found the court.
In its March 11 ruling, the court said that the first people or organizations that apply for trademark registrations are usually approved as rightful owners, but public interests need to be factored into the decision.
If Trunkbow succeeded in registering the Weixin trademark, it would have negative effects on numerous Weixin users, the court found.
Trunkbow said it will appeal the ruling to the Beijing High People's Court.
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Qualcomm now being challenged on Chinese trademark (2015-03-18,China Daily)
How do you say "Qualcomm" in Chinese? That may depend on a Shanghai court battle against the team that beat Apple Inc in a similar dispute three years ago.
A local company laying claim to Qualcomm Inc's Chinese-language brand name, Gao Tong, has enlisted Hejun Vanguard Group, the management consulting firm that helped make Apple pay $60 million in 2012 to use the iPad moniker in China. A trademark suit brought against Qualcomm by Shanghai Gao Tong Semiconductor Co is set for a court hearing next month.
"This is a follow-up to the Apple iPad case," said Hejun Vanguard President Li Su. "We must safeguard the dignity of Chinese national brands and defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises."
The trademark case gives Qualcomm a new headache in the world's second-largest economy after it was fined $975 million by the National Development and Reform Commission last month over antitrust violations.
The maker of digital wireless communications equipment said it would not challenge the NDRC ruling, which also imposed conditions on the local royalties it charges on phone sales.
Tina Asmar, a spokeswoman for Qualcomm, declined to comment on the trademark case.
Qualcomm's advanced chips have made it the key supplier of technology to the smartphone boom, although it is facing more competition from companies such as MediaTek Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.
Both the Qualcomm and Shanghai brands use the same two Chinese characters, which translate roughly to "high communications".
Shanghai Gao Tong registered five trademarks containing the characters between August 1992 and January 2004, according to the China Patent Trademark Office's database.
Shanghai Gao Tong is seeking 100 million yuan ($16 million) in damages, according to its June filing in the Shanghai Higher People's Court. Qualcomm's use of the trademark is a form of unfair competition, Li said.
Proview International Holdings Ltd prevailed in a similar case after a two-year legal fight with Apple.
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Fake name-brand alcohol seized in Guangdong (2015-03-18,People's Daily)
Guangdong police have recently taken down nine processing factories, warehouses and retailing sites involved in the production of fake brand-name wine and spirits.
Eleven suspects have been detained and a large batch of raw materials as well as packaging materials with name-brand logos have been seized, as reported by Xinhua on Tuesday.
The counterfeit high-end liquors and wines sporting convincing packaging, anti-counterfeiting labels and introduction letters are hard to be identified as fake by the untrained eye, said the police in charge of the case.
The investigation revealed that the processing factories of the fake name-brand spirits and wines are located in rural areas or city fringes with poor sanitary conditions. The filling machines are simple and crude. Some counterfeited foreign wines are even reported to be filled out of toilets.
The police pointed out that by changing the packaging, the bulk spirits and wines really worth very little, can easily be sold as foreign drinks valued at tens of thousands of yuan after entering market.
More than 700 bottles of wine counterfeited as name-brand captured at the scene were destined for regions including Shanghai, Tianjin, Hebei Province and Hong Kong.
According to Chinese law, the act of producing and selling fake alcohol can be regarded as a crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks and/or manufacturing inferior products.
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Chinese smartphone firm Xiaomi to set up production in India (2015-03-16,China Daily)
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc said on Thursday it would invest further and begin local production within 12 to 18 months in India, one of the world's fastest-growing markets and currently dominated by Samsung Electronics and local firms like Micromax.
The five-year-old Chinese company, whose name means "little rice," entered the Indian market in July last year and its low-priced but feature-rich smartphones have proved a big hit, with sales of over a million phones within five months.
"We want to invest deeply in this market, we want to have a significant amount of research and development done here -- not only for India but the rest of the world," Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's vice president of international operations, said.
Xiaomi, already the fifth-largest phone company in the Indian market, is evaluating various locations to set up a manufacturing unit and is in talks with local partners and state governments, Barra said, adding that the process is likely to take at least a year.
Barra's comments highlight how important the India market is regarded by Xiaomi, valued at $45 billion after a December funding round, said Neil Shah, a Mumbai-based research director for devices at Counterpoint Research.
Barra did not say how much Xiaomi might be prepared to invest in India, its largest market outside China, but the company is looking to put money into start-ups and rolling out service centers.
"The fundamental point is we want to build deeply rooted Indian products because this is a hugely important market for us and there is nothing more powerful than being a local business," he said, adding that India could also serve as an export hub.
"We are looking at (serving) the domestic market to start with but as we expand into other markets, particularly other markets in South Asia, it could make sense to export," he said.
In December Swedish telecoms equipment firm Ericsson obtained a court order temporarily halting Xiaomi's shipments to India, claiming the Chinese company had not been paying royalties on its patents. The matter is pending in an Indian court.
However, speaking at the launch of its latest smartphone in India, Barra said it was "business as usual" for Xiaomi, which sold upwards of 60,000 phones a week last year.
The company, which sells its phones primarily through flash sales on online retailer Flipkart.com, also said it will open 100 stores in India this year to help consumers "experience" the company's devices, but will not sell them at these stores.
"They will have to go with physical distribution if they want to go beyond the urban consumers who are just buying online and the setting up of a local manufacturing facility would be a step in that direction," Shah said.
Xiaomi Corp, a leading Chinese smartphone and TV accessories maker, said on March 5 that it would continue to focus on growing its core businesses and ruled out plans to diversify into other sectors.
"We will rely on our main businesses£smartphones, TV accessories and routing devices£to maintain growth," said Lei Jun, founder and chairman of Xiaomi.
Lei, also a deputy to the National People's Congress, which opened in Beijing on Thursday, made the remarks in response to speculation that Xiaomi would enter other businesses like home decoration and real estate.
"We are not associated with the home decoration and real estate businesses. Some companies have been using Xiaomi's development mode to tap these sectors," said Lei.
A startup company, which Lei did not identify, used Xiaomi's business model to enter the home decoration industry, he said.
"The company is following our business model, and it has proved effective in profit generation. But I have to reiterate that the business has nothing to do with Xiaomi," Lei said.
Xiaomi, which incorporates users' feedback into its product range, sells products directly to its customers to remain competitive in the smartphone sector.
Lei said he changes his mobile phone every week, so as to gauge fresh perspectives as a smartphone customer.
"I am in the phone-making business. Hence, it is very important to make our products better by incorporating experiences of all the latest smartphones," said Lei.
Lei was seen showing Xiaomi's latest phone, Xiaomi Note, to reporters before he entered the Great Hall of the People for the opening of the annual NPC session.
According to Lei, Xiaomi would not be engaged into other businesses such as electric cars for the next five years.
"It is a tough task to diversify business for a startup company, which should concentrate on its core business for growth," said Lei.
Xiaomi, which was founded in 2010, has become one of China's leaders in the smartphone sector, with sales increasing 135 percent year-on-year to more than 70 billion yuan ($11.16 billion) in 2014.
According to company sources, Xiaomi sold more than 60 million smartphones in 2014, an increase of more than 227 percent from the previous year.
Exuding confidence, Li said that Xiaomi's robust business growth would help it catch up with other global smartphone makers like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in the next 10 years.
"Xiaomi wants to be the world's top smartphone producer and has an ultimate goal of building a sound and healthy market system to promote the development of the smartphone industry," said Lei.
The company's products are already being sold in several overseas markets like the United States and India.
"Xiaomi will not be listed in the next five years. We are concentrating on our core businesses to expand market share," he said.
The company will realize sales of more than 100 billion yuan this year, and is on track to sell more than 100 million phones, judging by the growing demand in domestic and overseas markets, Lei said. "The booming Internet industry has also created huge opportunities for Xiaomi's business growth."
With China's economy stepping into the "new normal" phase, traditional industries should be better integrated with the Internet sector, he said.
"Integration into the Internet business will help upgrade traditional industries and maintain business growth," Lei said.
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Chinese experts urge legislation on trade secret protection (2015-03-16,Xinhua)
Chinese experts are urging legislation to protect trade secrets to deal with an increase in infringements and violations in recent years.
"Chinese enterprises, private ones in particular, pay insufficient attention to trade secret protection," said Wang Cheng'an, vice president of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies at a seminar aimed at advancing trade secret protection in China on Sunday.
Trade secrets are information about a business's technology and operations that, if stolen, may lead to losses for proprietors.
China has special laws on trademarks, copyright and patents, but no trade secret law among its intellectual property rights (IPR) laws. However, there are trade secret provisions in the country's law against unfair competition and its labor and contract laws.
China will accelerate research on trade secret protection legislation this year, said Li Zhenzhong, deputy head of the country's top office for nationwide operations against IPR infringement and counterfeiting.
"Current legal provisions on trade secret protection are too general and we face various problems ranging from compensation standards to difficulties for plaintiffs in providing evidence," said Huang Congzhen, an IPR judge with the Higher People's Court of east China's Fujian Province.
Legislation on trade secret protection was once part of the work plan of the country's top legislature in the 1990s, but no progress has been made over the past 20 years for reasons that are unclear, said Liu Chuntian, professor of IPR protection at Renmin University of China.
A trade secret law is necessary for building a mature market economy and improving the overall legal system, said Liu.
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Mines getting greener despite challenges (2015-03-13,People's Daily)
Wang De'an, a miner at China's largest open-pit copper mine, was pleased to see that the pungent, yellow Dawu River was much clearer this year.
Wang, 58, who works at Dexing Copper Mine in east China's Jiangxi Province, has watched the water quality deteriorate over the past few decades.
"Thirty years ago, we did not treat our wastewater," said Wang, adding that, sometimes, it was dumped straight into the river.
Since the 1980s, the mine has channeled 740 million yuan (120 million U.S. dollars) to support environmental protection efforts and was among China's first batch of 37 "national-level green mine pilot enterprises" in 2011. These enterprises tested scientific exploitation, efficient use of resources, standardized management, environment-friendly production and mine environment standards.
"The key to environmental protection at the mine is the treatment of wastewater," said Guan Yongmin, head of the mine.
Drainage ditches and large acidic reservoirs were built to separate rainwater from wastewater, explained Guan.
It has also developed a process to extract thousands of tons of copper, stones and other waste materials, called tailings, from wastewater, he said.
More than 80 percent of the 492 hectares of waste land at the mine have been converted into green spaces, with plants growing on the tailings, he added.
Government supervision and public complaints about pollution have forced the mines to go green.
In this year's government work report, Premier Li Keqiangsaid the government would fight to conserve energy, reduce emissions and improve the environment.
The Ministry of Land and Resources has approved 661 mines to be national-level green mine pilot enterprises.
The experiences of pilot enterprises will be disseminated to large- and medium-sized mines so that all can achieve green mine standards by 2020. Small-sized mines will also be managed according to the green mine standards.
However, the 661 pilot enterprises are minimal compared with the 100,000 mines across the country.
The majority of China's mineral resources are extracted by small and lean mines, which produce massive pollutants and use out-of-date machinery, said Shi Jingxi, an official with the China Mining Association.
Green mines need advanced technological innovation and the upgrading of production facilities, which small mines often struggle to afford, he said.
Meanwhile, even those pioneers with the reputation of "national-level green mine pilot enterprises" are facing mounting market pressures.
"The price we pay is far more than the market cost," said Yao Shaowu, general manager of Huzhou Xinkaiyuan Crushed Stones Co. Ltd., adding that lack of policy support is a big headache.
Compared with enterprises who spend the bare minimum on environmental protection, Yao's enterprise lost out.
Yao's company has invested a lot of money in environmental protection efforts and owes 26 patents concerned with resources, energy conservation, reduction of emissions and cleaner production.
However, Yao failed to persuade the local government to list his company as a hi-tech company, which can enjoy preferential taxation policies.
Zhao Quanhou, director of the financial research office of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science at the Ministry of Finance, called for more pilot enterprises and more green mine funding.
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Xiaomi to enter bullish Brazilian market (2015-03-11,China Daily)
Top Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi announced it will enter Brazil this year, as part of its expansion in the global smartphone market.
"We are looking into the market and plans to make a move this year," Xiaomi said in an interview with China Daily. "Details are still under discussion, such as lines of products to sell."
According to Tech in Asia, Xiaomi is close to securing a manufacturing plant in Brazil.
Currently, China's biggest smartphone maker offers smartphones and smart modules that link smart products directly to phones in seven countries and areas.
After a $1.1 billion funding round last December which valued the five-year-old company at $45 billion, it has turned its focus overseas.
In January, Xiaomi announced its intentions to enter Brazil, Russia, and other emerging markets and that it was looking to invest in new tech startups in India to expand its global presence and develop new capabilities.
In February, the company said it would open an online store in the US shortly to sell its line of smart-tech wearables and headphones. On March 4, it did the same in Europe.
The company is most well-known for its low-cost, flagship line of smartphones popular in China, but patent restrictions currently are keeping the company from launching its phones in the US and European markets.
"Developing countries remain our market focus in 2015," said Xiaomi. Brazil, one of the largest consumer markets in Latin America, is likely to be one of its most important new markets.
Xiaomi's Brazilian Dream was first made in 2012, as Lei Jun, Xiaomi's co-founder and CEO announced the intentions to enter Brazil. After waiting two years, last May the company registered in Brazil under the name Xiaomi Technology Brazil Ltd and opened its first office in Sao Paulo to begin operations last August.
Despite the start of the operations, there has been a delay in releasing a start date for Xiaomi's products in Brazil.
Xiaomi's vice president Hugo Barra said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the delay is due to a "long and painful device-certification process".
Smartphone makers need to get their products certified by government agencies across the world before they can launch and sell in different markets. In Brazil, the process can take as long as six months to meet local standards and get products certified for sale.
Barra said Xiaomi's plans to offer its smartphones in Brazil could take longer, citing local laws that require companies like Xiaomi to assemble their products in the South American country. "It may take a long time," Barra said.
However, Xiaomi's high-end and lower priced smartphones could be a hit in the currently bullish local market. In 2013, smartphone sales in Brazil rose by 101 percent, according to analysts. The country's tele-density is still low and so is smartphone ownership, which provides a large potential market for Xiaomi.
The man to helm Xiaomi's global operations was born in Brazil. Barra left Google to join Xiaomi in 2013 and in 2014 Xiaomi made its products available in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Last July, it launched its latest smartphone in India which sold out quickly.
Barra has been quoted as saying that Xiaomi will use the same competitive pricing strategy that it uses in China when it launches its products in foreign markets such as Brazil. The company, sometimes referred to as the "Apple of China", has already overtaken Apple as the top smartphone seller.
The company's latest flagship product, Mi Note, is priced at 2,299 yuan ($368) for the basic version, about half the price of Apple's iPhone.
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Chinese characters to be recognized for global trademarks (2015-03-11,China Daily)
The World Intellectual Property Organization is changing its trademark registration system to accept Chinese and Japanese characters as international trademarks.
Francis Garry, director general of WIPO, recently told Japan's The Nikkei newspaper that the agency will work on reforms over the next five years, and changes to the system will be approved as early as this autumn.
The organization has 188 member states. Asian and Middle Eastern members have expressed support for a proposal to permit trademarks in some scripts other than the Roman alphabet, including Chinese characters and Japanese kanji characters or hiragana lettering, the newspaper reported.
Trademarks not in the Roman alphabet cannot be registered as international trademarks to enjoy global protection, according to current WIPO rules.
Countries using other scripts, such as China, Japan and Arabian countries in the Middle East, allow trademarks in their respective scripts to be registered within the country. But brands and other international trademarks must use the Roman alphabet.
The director general said the reform was "in conjunction with the rise of Asian economies".
Zhao Hu, an intellectual property rights lawyer and a partner in Beijing's EastBright Law Firm, agreed. He told China Daily that the change indicates the emerging roles of Asia-Pacific countries, especially China and Japan, in the economic and technical fields.
"Technically, a trademark needs to be prominent and easily distinguishable," he said. "Allowing Chinese and Japanese characters to become international trademarks means their prominence and identity are recognized in the global business domain."
He said the reform would be good news for Chinese companies.
"When a Chinese company plans to expand overseas, it wants to use its old trademark as it represents fame and reputation," Zhao said. "If it has to abandon its Chinese trademark and register a new one, the time-honored reputation will not go with it, and there will be challenges in translation.
"In addition, trademark squatting will be avoided thanks to the new system," he said.
Famous traditional Chinese medicine trademark Tong Ren Tang has been preempted in Japan, South Korea, the United States and Europe since the 1980s.
Japanese retailer Ryohin Keikaku found in 1999 that the characters for its Muji brand had already been registered in China by a Hong Kong company, and spent seven years to win the name back.
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Yantai cherries (2015-03-11,China Daily)
Yantai cherries are honored as the ¡°King of Fruit¡± thanks to their high nutritional value. Rich in vitamins and amino acids, the fruit has certain supportive influences for treating anemia, osteoporosis, and calcium and iron deficiencies.
Zhifu District in Yantai boasts 70 kinds of cherries, which have been sold around the country. It has won a string of recognitions, such as a National Protected Geographical Indication and a National Geographical Indication trademark.
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IP recommendations (2015-03-11,China Daily)
During the ongoing meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the annual gathering of China's top decision-makers and political advisers, many delegates made comments and suggestions about intellectual property issues.
"The seed industry is a basic industry for a nation and the foundation for food security, but China's seed market order has been damaged by rampant fakes in recent years, because the punishment for seed fraud is too light. Since seed breed is a category of intellectual property, the Criminal Law should consider seed violation a crime, like other severe IP infringements."
Li Denghai, NPC deputy and director of the National Corn Engineering Technology Research Center
"Many of the Chinese companies doing business in Central Asia are not paying enough attention to IP currently, and have suffered losses because they do not have patents or trademarks in the market. Part of the reason is that Chinese companies are not familiar with local law systems. As the starting point of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Shaanxi should fund a series of IP research institutions targeting Central Asian markets, and establish long-term cooperation with IP organizations along the belt."
Ju Shuanke, CPPCC member and director of the Shaanxi Intellectual Property Office
"Every year, Chinese TV and radio stations use a large quantity of written work, but the writers often earn little or even no payment. The copyright authority should make a nationally unified payment standard. Also, the current Copyright Law needs revision as some regulations in it have failed to follow the trends of the fast economic and cultural development."
Zhang Kangkang, CPPCC member and vice-president of the Chinese Writers' Association
"The IP court in Shanghai set up at the end of last year was necessary, as the judicial protection of IP rights has attracted increasing attention both domestically and internationally. The court is also a pilot in China's judicial reform. More international exchanges are advised to showcase China's latest achievement in IP judicial protection. We also have to develop a team of IP judges with global views to enhance China's voice in the world of IP protection."
Zhao Wen, CPPCC member and deputy mayor of Shanghai
"Intellectual property pledge loans are a new financing method for small and medium-sized companies, and are supported by local governments. But because of intellectual properties' invisible, regional and timely features, there are some challenges in IP financing, such as IP evaluation and risk control. There should be nationally unified evaluation systems and instructions for patents, trademarks and copyright respectively, and the government should launch guarantee funds, so that banks will no longer be afraid of offering such services to companies."
Zhong Chunyan, NPC deputy and general manager of Hainan Yeguo Foods Co Ltd
"The passion of scientists failed to be connected to the market because, according to current laws, their service inventions are not seen as personal property. Many inventors earn salaries without incentive mechanisms. But this year's government work report suggested that the government would reconsider the profit-sharing system, which is a good sign. Will the government suffer losses if individuals become patent owners? No, it won't, because this will only encourage inventors to industrialize their inventions and make contributions to the country by creating more jobs and, in turn, taxes."
Chen Kaixian, CPPCC member and academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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Innovation encouragement brightens economic prospect (2015-03-10,Xinhua)
A major breakthrough of a Chinese team in quantum physics might lead to destructive innovation in information technology and related industries, dishing out a secure and flawless alternative of communication for human beings.
Prof. Pan Jianwei, a principal investigator at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), led his fellow researchers to successfully double the bandwidth for quantum teleportation, which was published late February in the British journal of Nature and commented by a world-leading quantum physicist Wolfgang Tittel as "impressive."
Based on technologies developed from its basic research findings in the past 15 years, the Pan team is building a 2,000-km quantum communication line connecting Beijing and Shanghai and planning to enable the space-to-Earth encoding information transfer via an experimental quantum communication satellite expected to be launched in 2016.
Pan's cutting-edge research project, beginning with a 6 million-yuan (980,000 U.S. dollars) fund in 2001 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has obtained handsome financing from the CAS, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
China last year spent 1.33 trillion yuan on research and development (R&D), increasing 12.4 percent year on year and accounting for 2.09 percent of GDP, with a further ambitious anticipation of exceeding the average 3-percent threshold of the R&D to GDP ratio of industrialized economies.
China in 2014 accepted 2.36 million patent applications and granted 1.3 million patents.
"Innovation is the most important driving force for development," said President Xi Jinping, who asks his nation to break through the system and mechanism barriers to innovation.
"Quantum information technology provides a great opportunity for China to strive to be a pacemaker in future information technology from a follower in the past," said Prof. Pan, a CAS member who is in Beijing attending the annual session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The USTC, with Prof. Pan as a vice president, incorporated in 2009 a hi-tech company not far from its campus in Hefei, Anhui Province, manufacturing quantum communication equipment, providing business solutions and possessing the most such patents in China.
Premier Li Keqiang said China will promote the extensive application of information technology in industrialization, launch major projects to develop high-end equipment and information networks, and help some emerging industries become leading ones.
The 40 billion-yuan government fund has already been in place for investment in emerging industries, and more funds will be raised for promoting business development and innovation.
While supporting big national companies to continuously sharpen their competitiveness by making innovations, such as the China-made global positioning system Beidou, the third-generation nuclear power plant and the high-speed railway system, the government spurs popular entrepreneurship and mass innovation.
To show his own commitment to this end, Premier Li visited an eastern village full of hard-working individuals getting profits from their small businesses for online shopping, and clicked, though ceremonially, the first go-ahead of a small loan to a truck driver for a newly-approved Internet banking services provider WeBank.
Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park harbors numerous hi-tech companies and innovative start-ups. The Binhai New Area in Tianjin and the Zhangjiang Hi-tech Zone in Shanghai follow suit, greatly boosting the innovation-driven economy.
However, China still needs to do a lot more to improve the environment for innovation.
Restrictions on innovation should be substantively lifted, such as deregulation for fairer competition and easier access to flexible financing, said CPPCC member Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, the world's largest personal computer maker growing from a shabby storeroom in Zhongguancun.
Some 60 percent of 2,446 entrepreneurs surveyed in a recent poll said the lack of talents is the biggest obstacle to innovation.
Quite a few CPPCC members and deputies to the National People's Congress, China's legislature, advocate systematic changes in education, regulation, research and development management and incentives scheming, with proposals including one on stimulating more college graduates to start up their own businesses and help them, as many as possible, succeed.
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Sino-US cooperation needed to fight counterfeits (2015-03-10,People's Daily)
In an unusual reversal of roles, Washington officials who regularly criticize China for piracy found themselves defending Alibaba Group on the issue last week, just a month after a Chinese regulator blasted the e-commerce leader for allowing rampant fake goods trade on its popular Taobao site. The conflicting messages are at least partly political, since a similar US condemnation would have contradicted Washington's praise of Alibaba's piracy-fighting efforts over the last two years.
To avoid sending such conflicting messages, China and its major trading partners should consider setting up formal working groups and signing cooperative agreements to send out more unified signals on issues like piracy and other matters with cross-border implications. Washington and Chinese officials have already made such an effort in securities regulation, producing a landmark information-sharing agreement to facilitate investigations of US-listed Chinese firms.
More such cooperation in other cross-border areas, from patents to taxation and piracy, would provide clearer signals for business about government positions on those matters. Such efforts would also help to create an atmosphere of cooperation on issues of common interest between China and the West, building trust to offset recent tensions over issues like state subsidies and cyber spying.
Alibaba is China's largest e-commerce company, but is also prone to trade in fake goods due to a business model that allows third-party merchants to sell goods on its sites. By comparison, China's other major e-commerce firms directly operate their own online stores, giving them far more control to guarantee the authenticity of goods sold on their sites.
In a bid to show it was fighting piracy, Alibaba implemented its own systems to identify and remove sellers of fake goods from its sites, and concurrently mounted a campaign to convince critics in Washington of its efforts. That campaign finally bore fruit two years ago, when the US removed Alibaba from its annual global list of "notorious markets" for pirated goods.
The US continued to exclude Alibaba from the list, in an implicit nod that the company was continuing its battle against piracy. That nod helped to give Alibaba credibility when it made its blockbuster New York IPO last September, raising a record $25 billion. The company's shares then continued to surge, making it more valuable than older, more established names like Amazon and eBay.
But then one of China's top business regulators, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) conducted its own survey last year and found that nearly two-thirds of goods traded on Taobao were fakes. It informed Alibaba of the findings last summer, but didn't announce them publicly due to the company's upcoming IPO. It finally announced the results in January, sparking a sell-off that has seen Alibaba's shares lose nearly 20 percent of their value since then.
As effects of the high-profile war of words between Alibaba and the SAIC continue to linger, the company got a rare piece of good news late last week when its name was once again excluded from the newest US list of "notorious markets." But this time Washington added an important footnote to its latest results, saying it will "continue to monitor" the situation between Alibaba and the SAIC.
The US is far more dependent on third-party information to make its determinations about what happens in China, and thus often relies on reports from victims of counterfeiting and companies like Alibaba to make such decisions. But many of the victims of piracy on Taobao are domestic companies, which are unlikely to complain to Washington. By comparison, the SAIC's investigation was far more independent and took advantage of its own easy access to Alibaba's e-commerce services, allowing it to uncover the high rate of piracy.
Such conflicting messages from China and the US are understandable, but can create confusion and undermine confidence among consumers and investors. That kind of confusion could be avoided if relevant government agencies from China and its major trading partners formed cross-border working groups to create a unified voice on issues of common interest like piracy.
The Chinese and US securities regulators formed this kind of partnership two years ago, signing a breakthrough information-sharing agreement to assist in investigations of potential wrongdoing by the many New York-listed Chinese firms. Similar agreements and other cross-border working groups could be set up between other related government agencies, giving China and its major trading partners a chance to cooperate and send unified signals on issues where both sides have common goals.
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The rise of 3-D printing (2015-03-07,China Daily)
Additive manufacturing printers can make guns, dolls and houses ...... but can the innovation also spark a new industrial revolution in China?
As the technology becomes more mainstream, China is expected to play a major role in the research and development of an industry that could turn manufacturing upside down.
The potential for three-dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping, is so huge that some predict it could usher in the Third Industrial Revolution.
One day, people will be able to design items such bicycles, tables, cups, cars and jewelry on their computers and make them come to life using 3-D printers. Fewer factories and workers will be needed, disrupting the modern supply chain.
So, as the world's factory, what should China do?
Industry insiders say 3-D printing technology has been overhyped by the media. Although China has achieved great success in developing the technology, it still ranks far behind countries such as the United States and Germany.
The technology is also being embraced by the health industry, which is using it to develop new medicines to fight diseases such as cancer.
AOD 3-D printing in Beijing is working with a shoemaker to develop 3-D scanners that will be used to scan images of people's feet at shopping malls. The data will be used to build customized shoes.
"The shoemaker will send the data of the shopper's feet to us and we will print a mold for production. It'll be simple, fast and cheap," says Jia Qiuyan, sales manager for AOD.
Lian Ning, general manager of Nanjing Zijin-Lead Electronics, says "3-D printing technology has been misunderstood. People believe they can print cars and airplanes at home. Actually, right now we can only print parts of cars or planes, which need assembling."
Lian's company produces and sells four types of 3-D printers.
Luo Jun, president of the World 3-D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, has written a new book, Welcome the Era of 3D Printing 3.0, which will be published in April.
"3-D printing technology cannot replace traditional manufacturing techniques that make products on a large scale," he wrote.
"It provides solutions for sophisticated designs, such as those used in the aerospace field, and customized products. However, considering the high unit cost, the limited choices of additive materials and relatively low technological level, it seems impossible that 3-D printing will ever be applied in traditional, large-scale manufacturing."
Li Guiren, chief technology officer of AOD, has years of experience in the traditional molding industry and produced auto components until 2012, when he entered the 3-D printing industry. He says it costs too much to use molding tools to build customized products, while 3-D printing techniques save on both time and money.
In 2013, Wang Huaming, a professor at Beihang University, introduced the technology of laser additive manufacturing developed by his team in a popular online video.
"China has been developing its own airplanes. Mold tools of a very small frame of the airplane Baosteel produced cost 70 million yuan ... each small part cost hundreds of thousands of yuan," he says. "An airplane part produced by the US used 3 tons of material to make but the part itself was only 144 kg, less than 5 percent of the total precious material used.
"Using our laser additive manufacturing technique, the utilization ratio of the material can reach 80 percent."
Wang also explained how his team successfully produced C919 airplane components using 3-D printing techniques. "They wanted to produce a double-curved surface window frame for the airplane, but there is only one European company that can do it. The manufacturing time is two years and the company asked for $2 million to make mold tools ... Time was limited and they turned to us. We completed the whole project in 55 days."
AOD, which was founded in 2013, has a total of 80 employees at its manufacturing center in Shanghai, sales companies in Tianjin and Weifang, headquarters in Qingdao and a research and development base in Beijing. It has gained three rounds of financing.
"But money is still our biggest problem", says Jia Qiuyan, the AOD sales manager. "Big sums of money have been spent on research and development, marketing and branding.
"However, we are very confident about the future because we have several financing projects under negotiation for this year," she said.
Jia's confidence also comes from growing market expectations. "Since the latter half of 2014, I have seen obvious growth in demand from various industries. Inquiries from the Yangtze River Delta are the largest, so are deals with companies in that region," she says.
Lian Ning, in Nanjing, says that in terms of the development, China's 3-D printing technology is rather advanced. "In general, China's 3-D printing industrial players are small, and they are located in different parts of the country," he says.
Lian says there are two main kinds of 3-D printing companies in China: Startups by Chinese who have returned from overseas and are interested in the technology and companies started by researchers at higher education institutions.
"The startups are usually small and the companies owned by researchers usually don't survive, because they don't understand the market," says Lian, who used $5 million of investment funds to start Nanjing Zijin-Lead Electronics seven years ago.
In 2014, revenues in China's 3-D printing industry reached about 4 billion yuan ($638 million), accounting for 10 percent of the world's total.
Domestic companies made around 1.5 billion yuan, while foreign companies from places such as the US, Europe and Japan took in 2.5 billion yuan, according to Luo Jun, president of the World 3-D Printing Technology Industry Alliance.
Luo predicts that in 2015, China will take up a 15-to 20-percent market share and in 2017, domestic 3-D printing revenues will surpass 10 billion yuan.
If China wants to perform better in the world's arena, more needs to be done, says Lian Ning. "I think the most important thing for the development of the domestic 3-D printing industry is to develop additive materials," he says.
Lian says the additive material polyvinyl chloride used in LOM 3-D printers had to be imported from Europe until 2014, when Lian's engineering team succeeded in developing the material.
"It is not a difficult technology, but when I tried to look for researchers to develop this material in 2008, they usually asked me two questions: Is the material very cutting-edge? Is it going to be huge in the market?" Lian says. "And when they couldn't get positive answers, they wouldn't do it.
"It's not because the technologies have not been or cannot be developed in China. As a matter of fact, we have a lot of patents but ... they have not been transferred into production.
"Without the development of additive materials, China's 3-D printing industry won't achieve good development," he says.
Another issue for the development of the industry is application, Lian says. "People believe that 3-D printing can do anything, based on media reports. However, once they learn more about the technology ... they discover that they don't even understand what it can do."
AOD is cooperating with middle schools around the country to introduce the technology to teenagers. "Planting the seed of the technology in the mind of young people is very important," Lian says.
"If they learn it at school, when they enter society and need to solve a problem, 3-D printing technology will automatically pop into their heads as a possible solution."
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Smart steps to greener future (2015-03-06,China Daily)
New technologies and partnerships with multinational firms help address pollution and sustainability issues in China
Smart city solutions are becoming an increasingly popular approach to tackle the challenges of climate change, and China's commitment in introducing these technologies could make the country a leader in the concept. Relatively new smart city solutions generally use technology to identify the sources of pollution or resource inefficiency in cities, and help policymakers create the right strategy to address these issues.
Global firms like IBM, Schneider, Honeywell and Johnson Controls are bringing in their own technological solutions to China, as well as creating unique ways to address China's pollution issues.
One key example is a 10-year project jointly developed by IBM and the Beijing government. Known as Green Horizon, the project will employ sensor technologies, big data analytics, weather modeling, and other advanced techniques to help the city monitor and address air pollution.
Eric Woods, director at market research and consulting firm Navigant Research, says such commitment and efforts in China means in the future Western cities may look to China as a leader in air quality improvement.
In 2013, the Chinese government launched its Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, which will see it invest $277 billion in an attempt to reduce air pollution by up to 25 percent in selected provinces and cities, including Beijing, by 2017 compared to 2012 levels. Beijing alone is expected to invest around $160 billion.
Woods says smart city solutions are helpful in allowing cities to focus on economic growth, but at the same time do as much as they can to achieve sustainability.
This is because these technologies can identify the sources of pollution in cities so that appropriate action can be taken to directly address these pollution sources efficiently, rather than tackling pollution with a large variety of measures that restrict fast economic growth.
"Smart city solutions are sustainable solutions that will continue to improve people's quality of life. They will focus on providing good services in cities, sustainability and continued economic growth," Woods says.
"The issue of pollution is a byproduct of economic activities, as people travel to cities and build houses to live in. But there are ways of reducing pollution by identifying their sources, and creating the right strategy to tackle the pollution," he says.
Therefore smart city solutions could be the creation of public transport, or encourage electric cars to reduce petrol and diesel pollution.
"The challenge is how you integrate all this information into a decision. If you are monitoring the air quality, and you know the causes of the air pollution, you can make changes in terms of road access, avoid using vehicles and drop prices in the transit system," Woods says.
Smart city solutions have also gained popularity in the West in recent years, although many focus on maintaining the competitiveness of old city centers and meeting energy reduction goals.
In Europe, the concept is an important part of Horizon 2020, a European Union initiative that aims to secure Europe's global competitiveness.
Nikolaos Kontinakis, project coordinator of Eurocities, a network that supports local governments, says European and Chinese cities have a lot to share with each other in terms of smart city solutions.
He says Europe and China face similar problems of environmental pollution, and many smart city technologies can help to address these issues, including green building, traffic control and energy solutions.
"I think although European cities do not seem to have as obvious or visible environmental pollution, they face the same challenges as Chinese cities. Both need cleaner cars, traffic improvement and other solutions. Smart city technology can allow these to happen by changing people's behavior," says Kontinakis.
"Chinese cities are good at adapting to new technologies and upscaling the size of projects and new solutions. This is because China's urbanization is happening very fast, and in a few years many big cities have been and will be formed," he says.
In 2013, Eurocities helped organize the EU-China Urbanization Forum, which attracted mayors of around 40 European and Chinese cities to share their experiences and expertise on smart city technologies.
The delegates discussed sustainable mobility, smart cities, urban innovation, culture heritage and urban planning with the objective of exchanging best practices that can be replicated both in China and Europe.
A new project, EC-Link, was formally launched at the forum, which aims to establish urban, low-carbon partnerships between Chinese and European cities. Chinese cities will be able to draw on the knowledge of experts in European cities, while Europe will be able to access results from ongoing projects in China.
Eurocities has become an important partner in EC-Link, responsible for peer-to-peer learning activities and visibility events between European and Chinese cities.
A large number of Eurocities member cities, including Barcelona, Bonn, Bristol, Ghent and Turin, are already actively cooperating with Chinese cities on smart city initiatives.
Many Western companies have also taken their smart city capabilities and technologies to China, and developed locally suitable solutions.
One example is the French company Schneider. Schneider Electric has led and participated in many smart city projects in China, in particular in the fields of transport management, water management and green buildings.
One example is a traffic control system Schneider Electric has implemented in Beijing to better manage traffic flows, and therefore reduce vehicle emissions.
The system has been integrated in 10 control centers, containing different aspects of traffic control including traffic signals, high-definition enforcement system, supervision and monitoring system for expressways, CCTV, traffic flow detection, and a weather detection and guidance system.
Another key example is the implementation of smart grids in Chinese cities, including Tianjin and Guiyang. In Tianjin, Schneider Electric has upgraded the city's existing power grid to a smart grid, which also includes a district heating management system and a metro tolling system.
Guiyang's smart grid collects and analyzes real-time operational data across a distribution network covering 4 million people in the city.
Tony Yu, strategy and business development director at Schneider Electric, says smart city technology can address many problems and challenges in the world as the population grows.
"We hope that smart city solutions can design the proper infrastructure of an economy so it can lead to proper and long-term economic development," Yu says, adding that at Schneider Electric the focus on building smart cities is on livability, sustainability and efficiency.
Efficient means improving the efficiency of a city's underlying urban infrastructures, while livable means becoming a more pleasant place to live, work and play - for its residents as well as for its visitors and commuters.
Sustainable means reducing the environmental consequences of urban life - reducing the city's carbon emissions, regenerating districts, planting trees, creating parks and planning the city differently.
Yu says smart city projects contribute toward pollution reduction in a small way, as they help energy and resources to be better managed and used more efficiently. In some areas, the energy reduction can be huge, such as the building and industry sectors, where smart city solutions can lead to up to 30 percent in energy reductions.
Yu says many of Schneider's smart city solutions for the China market are designed specifically for this market through local research and development effort, with support of global R&D expertise.
"As a company we greatly value R&D, which means that 5 percent of our total sales will go into R&D, and a lot of it will go into smart city solutions," Yu says.
He says many Western-developed R&D solutions will undergo minor modifications in the Chinese market to develop the locally suitable solution, and on the other hand many of the solutions developed in China are then also used in international markets.
For example, smart water management is an area that many Western countries have started to develop early, which Chinese cities have then taken the solutions and adapted toward their local needs.
"We have successfully shared this technology with China. In China a lot of water is wasted in the process of using them, and this water can be saved by using technology," he says.
Yu says China's smart city technologies have great potential for future growth, because the Chinese government has placed great emphasis on the concept in the past few years and the country has already led the development of many of these technologies.
"In China, there are many areas with great potential to develop and improve smart city technologies, including energy, transport systems, water, public services and buildings," he says.
Looking into the future, Yu says the future development of integration between operational technology and information technology to provide cities with effective management systems, and citizens with better public and innovative private services.
However, there are still many challenges to smart city solutions, especially as the area is so new, and many people are still getting used to the very concept of it, Yu says.
"One challenge is the need for a new approach that combines public governance, people ownership and business collaboration, drawing together different parties allowing to work toward a common goal," he says.
"The other challenge is to have a collaborative mindset from different departments working on the same project," he says.
Globally, Schneider Electric is in charge of urban projects in over 250 cities across a variety of countries, including Brazil, China, India, Europe and the United States. These projects all improve the efficiency of urban systems in different ways - from energy to water to transportation.
Another example is the US company Johnson Controls, which leads in green building products and solutions, providing building automation systems and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
Recently, Johnson Controls used its building technology and consulting expertise to help the Northstar Delta Office Tower, a 79,000-square-meter office tower, in Changsha, Hunan province, earn two prestigious green building certifications and cut energy consumption by 28 percent.
"With some 40 percent of energy worldwide consumed in buildings, optimizing the building energy efficiency goes a long way in optimizing a city's energy efficiency," says Soren Bjerg, vice-president and managing director of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Asia.
Bjerg says Johnson Controls has also developed many solutions for the Chinese market. For example, the waste heat recovery solution is spearheaded and developed in China, and this has huge potential for other big cities that require heating.
Last year, the company opened a $35 million expansion of its manufacturing and research and development center in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. The campus and its engineering center is now one of Johnson Controls' largest research and development centers in the world for building solutions for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as industrial refrigeration solutions, Bjerg says.
The US firm Honeywell has already built its integrated R&D platform across businesses in China. In 2014, it generated more than 600 inventions and 90 patents locally, and a large portion of these are around energy efficiency, quality of life, safety and public security, which are closely linked to smart cities.
Honeywell is also working on a number of successful smart city projects across the country. In Tianjin, it partnered with Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area to design and implement the country's first Smart Grid Demand Response pilot project.
This project will help China develop a nationwide set of smart grid industry standards and regulations. In Beijing, Honeywell also provided intelligent, integrated building solutions and air purifying solutions to Wangjing SOHO to help create an efficient landmark.
It is also working with Chinese companies from various sectors to boost the development of smart cities, include power distributors, automakers, banks, hospitals, airports, hotels, property developers, retailers and metro operators.
Stephen Shang, president and CEO at Honeywell China, says that urbanization, green economy and new technologies are significant forces that will affect China over the next five to 10 years, and that smart cities is at the core of these macro trends.
"We've seen quite a few Chinese cities put forward their smart city development plans and goals. We expect the development of smart cities in China is going to embark on a new stage, from planning to implementation. And thanks to the scale and speed, China will become a pioneer and global leader on this front," Shang says.
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¡°Made with China¡±-- Win-Win strategy for foreign companies in China (2015-03-06,People's Daily)
A large number of foreign companies in China are turning from their previous ¡°Made for China¡± strategy to a win-win track of upgraded and cooperative ¡°Made with China¡± strategy, abreast with changes in the Chinese market.
¡°Our plan is to promote innovation along with Chinese friends, so as to release more vitality and best technology into this market,¡± D.C. Chien, Chief Executive Officer of IBM China, told reporters, noting this new strategy features ¡°openness, coordination and innovation¡±.
Indeed, IBM is not alone. South Korea¡¯s Samsung SDI has made great contribution to all-around development of LCD industrial cluster and production chain in East China¡¯s Suzhou Industrial Park.
What is behind these strategy changes is China's new economic normal, especially in the internet economy, which drives foreign enterprises to deepen their industrial and innovative cooperation with Chinese partners.
Last year, China's e-commerce transactions totaled 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars, an increase of 25 percent year-on-year, according to China¡¯s Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
European Patent Office (EPO) president Benoit Battistelli said the patent filings received from China hit 26,472 in 2014, ranking the fourth behind the U.S., Japan and Germany.
¡°China is no longer the incompetent player of thirty years ago, and is developing its own ability of independent innovation and technology with huge industrial scales¡±, Yang Shaozeng, President of Emerson Motors told reporters.
Accordingly, the Chinese government is ready to pave way for better development of foreign companies, as equal treatment and operation environment with fair competition are forthcoming.
"China was the world's top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in 2014, with 29.4 percent of increase in January," MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said, predicting FDI flowing into China to remain stable despite anemic global economic recovery.
Given these situations, foreign companies sticking to a ¡°Made for China¡± strategy and just seeking profits with low-profile of input would prove incompetent and be weeded out by peers and market, according to insiders.
That may be where the ¡°Made with China¡± strategy comes about, which would beef up the companies¡¯ cooperation in elevating China¡¯s industrial, technological and innovative levels.
As a comprehensive economic reform deepens in China as evident at the ongoing future=charting sessions of the 12th National People's Congress and the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, ¡°Made with China¡± strategy would come out as a win-win solution for both foreign companies and Chinese market.
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China's IPR policy to create balanced system (2015-03-05,People's Daily )
The nation's intellectual property policy is intended to ensure market fairness, and it is not biased against foreign companies, a senior IP official said.
He Zhimin, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, said that China opposes the abuse of IP rights and will clamp down on companies that use their IP advantages to gain "monopolistic and unjustified profit".
He, who is also a deputy of the National People's Congress, made the comments in an interview with China Daily ahead of the opening of the top legislature's annual meeting.
The remarks came after the National Development and Reform Commission imposed a record fine of $975 million on the United States-based chipmaker Qualcomm Inc for abusing its market dominance to charge "unfairly high" patent royalties from Chinese companies.
The penalty on Qualcomm, the highest fine levied by Chinese authorities on a foreign company, has rippled through foreign technology companies, signaling possible tougher regulation in the Chinese market.
He said that the nation's IP right-related standards are in line with international practice and all companies, both domestic and foreign, are treated the same without any bias.
The purpose is to build a balanced and inclusive IP system that takes into account the interests of different parties and the disparities between China and developed countries, he said.
He said that the SIPO will assist Chinese companies to defend their interests in foreign markets where they are facing a growing number of lawsuits over IP disputes.
"Some foreign markets tend to use the IP rules to contain Chinese enterprises," He said, noting that some disputes are also due to companies' lack of knowledge about the IP law and practice in foreign markets.
China has seen the largest number of US investigations involving alleged patent and trademark infringement over the past 10 years.
The country will carry out a comprehensive overhaul of the Patent Law to better regulate and protect IP rights as Beijing has become increasingly serious about IP issues in recent years.
Analysts said that better regulation and protection of IP rights is essential for China to transform its growth model toward an innovation-driven one.
The amendment of the law, one of the key subjects to be discussed at the NPC meeting, will involve better administrative and judicial protection of IP rights, higher compensation and tougher punishment for infringement, according to He.
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Kunming court docket brims as inventor sues to protect design (2015-03-04,China Daily)
Judges in the Kunming Intermediate People's Court in Yunnan province watched their dockets overflow last year as local entrepreneur Wang Jiwei filed lawsuits that named an astounding 1,500 defendants.
Wang started a company producing glass walls and windows in 2000. In 2005, the company was granted a utility patent on a design that provides better lighting, ventilation, sound insulation, heat preservation and shock resistance in glass walls. It also reduces the amount of metal needed
But Wang later found many hotels and restaurants using his patented design on their glass shutters without permission. He started legal actions in 2006, beginning with fewer than five suits for the year. But the pace quickened to more than 100 annually after 2010.
He prevailed in most of the cases.
Cai Tao, deputy chief of the court's IP division, said a utility patent is valid for 10 years, which means Wang's patent will expire this year. And that is the reason for his large-scale legal campaign in 2014.
Wang hired several law firms to deal with the 1,500 defendants, but the court found it a challenge to handle such a huge number of cases at one time. It decided to adjudicate 200 cases a month using three panels of judges and assessors.
Wang had simple demand - asking each company to stop using his patented design and pay between 2,000 yuan ($319.8) and 60,000 yuan in compensation depending on the number of windows and the area of glass walls they used.
Some cases ended through mediation in mid-February.
Cai said most defendants eventually signed licensing agreements with Wang after paying compensation because otherwise they would have to demolish their glass walls and suffer additional losses.
He said that previous trials had limited influence on the overall business so many companies continued violating the patent.
Sun Wenjie, a lawyer at the local Ling Yun Law Firm, told Xinhua News Agency that many companies actually never realized they had violated a patent.
"Despite detailed regulations in laws about patent application and protection, many companies and individuals in all businesses are short of patent awareness," he said.
He said that sometimes it is difficult for a small company or an individual to know if a product was made using patented designs, so he suggested that the government strengthen supervision and provide guidance to improve public awareness and professionalism in businesses.
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Courting change in China's judiciary (2015-03-04,China Daily)
Four days before the Beijing Intellectual Property Court opened on Nov 6, Jiang Ying was invited to join the new institution as a senior judge.
Although the 47-year-old was happy in her old job, she couldn't resist the opportunity to work at the IP court, which is part of a pilot program to assess the impact of a series of reforms to the judicial system proposed by the central leadership in Oct 2013.
During her 20 years as a judge at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court, Jiang had heard and ruled on many IP disputes, but she was still nervous and excited when she arrived at her new workplace.
"The IP court is a pilot program to develop new ways of hearing IP-related cases and to explore other areas that may benefit from reform," she said.
The court is testing proposed new national guidelines that will affect the way judges are allocated, and that will allow them to reach verdicts without the need to review every case with senior colleagues, according to Jiang.
The reforms propose that the nation's judicial officers should be split into three groups: Approximately 30 percent will become judges and prosecutors, 50 percent will be classified as legal assistants, and the rest will oversee administration.
"In other words, it will be harder to become a judge, and we expect to see an obvious decline in their numbers to publicly indicate that the system is being streamlined to improve efficiency," she said.
The IP court currently employs 25 judges, including three court presidents. A number of younger judges will become assistants when the reform is rolled out nationwide, although the timetable has yet to be finalized.
According to Jiang, some judges in other courts have complained about the allocation system, fearing that their roles will change and they will be prevented from hearing cases.
"Very few of my colleagues in the IP court agree with the critics. Some younger judges, such as those who have worked for less than five years, are quite keen to become legal assistants because they realize they still have a great deal to learn," she said.
The reduction in the number of judges will promote greater professionalism among those hoping to make it to the top tier, and will also improve their ability to form judgments if they do make the grade, she added.
"Moreover, the judges who work here are experts in IP disputes, and they're afraid they won't be allowed to hear them if they are moved elsewhere or their roles are changed, because the reform stipulates that IP cases will only be tackled in the IP court," she added.
Ruan Chuansheng, a criminal lawyer in Shanghai, where the pilot program is also in operation, had a different perspective. He said some of his friends and colleagues in the courts and local justice departments are deeply concerned about the allocation system.
"Most of them are anxious about whether they will be selected as judges, because they think working as a legal assistant will mean their past efforts have all been in vain," said the 45-year-old, who has worked as a defense lawyer in criminal cases for about 12 years.
He confirmed that some Shanghai courts intend to base the allocation on length of service and seniority, "which is a restraint and not the original idea behind the reform," he said.
Employees' terms of service, including pay rates and promotion prospects, will also be amended, and some people are concerned about their futures, he added. Unsurprisingly, Ruan and his colleagues are waiting anxiously to see the results of the allocation process.
Since 2013, his employer, Shanghai Hengtai Law Offices, has engaged a small number of former junior judges who have abandoned court work for fear they will be penalized financially if they are "downgraded" to the role of legal assistant.
"They already find it hard to shoulder the cost of living in a big city, and the large reduction in the number of cases they will hear every year will make things even harder. After all, they need to earn enough to live," said Ruan, who used to work in a local court, referring to a change in the system that will see judges and legal assistants paid on the basis of their annual volume of work.
Although he has concerns about some of the proposed changes, Ruan said he's been delighted to witness a change in the attitudes of the courts, police and prosecutors toward lawyers over the past two years.
"In some trials, the judges and prosecutors interrupted me frequently when I was defending my client, and my applications to read case documents were also ignored," he said.
Guo Jie, a judge at a court in Sanming, Fujian province, said the reforms will give judges greater independence because they will no longer be required to report to court presidents, who review cases and advise on verdicts.
Although Guo's court is not involved in the pilot program, she said the reforms would result in sensible changes, especially by reducing the opportunity for senior judicial figures and local governments to influence proceedings and outcomes.
"Some of our departments have examined the reform that allows judges to give independent verdicts, and that will soon be extended across the entire court," she said.
One reform that's already been implement nationwide is that all verdicts and the reasoning behind them must be available online. That's resulted in judges providing extended explanations of their judgments, according to Guo.
"To ensure my verdicts are accurate and easily intelligible, I read them three times before I publish them on the website," she added.
According to Jiang, the process of reform has inevitably thrown up a number of problems that may affect efficiency, such as a lack of clarity about the roles and responsibilities of legal assistants.
"Some people have said the assistants will be responsible for conducting research and dealing with people who want to appeal earlier judgments, but no specific role has been stated in the reforms," she said.
Another problem is that the number of cases handled by each court changes from year to year, which means the allocation of judges should be flexible rather than a fixed percentage, she added, pointing out that from 2011 to 2013, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court heard an average 4,500 cases annually, but last year the number soared to 12,000.
"The proposed allocation of judges might not meet the rising demand, so it will be necessary to adjust the number regularly," she said.
A judge in Beijing, who preferred not to be named, said that under the reforms extra-judicial work, such as dealing with petitioners, should no longer be the responsibility of judges, but the lack of clarity means that still isn't the case.
He said he was disappointed when the Supreme People's Court, China's top legal body, issued an updated guideline on reform on Feb 26, because the criteria under which judges will be selected is still unclear.
Under the amended guideline, the Supreme People's Court said the aim of the reforms is to establish a system of trial firmly rooted in Chinese culture by 2018. However, Tian He, a legal researcher at the Institute of Law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the pilot program, which has no specified time limit, should continue for as long as it takes to garner sufficient information. The reforms will only be implemented effectively and gain general acceptance if problems are identified and rectified quickly, she added.
"As we push through these reforms, we should listen to the opinions of legal insiders, especially those in the grassroots legal bodies. Reform always damages somebody's interests, but the key is to ensure that it benefits as many people as possible."
The government highlights the need for judicial reform and puts forward a number of proposals at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
The Leading Group of the reform announces that pilot programs will be conducted in six provinces and municipalities, including Shanghai, Guangdong and Hubei.
Courts and judicial departments in Shanghai begin to implement the pilot program by dividing all judicial officers into three groups: judges and prosecutors, legal assistants and administrative officers.
The central leadership names the rule of law as a top national priority at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
Beijing establishes a special court to deal with disputes related to intellectual property. A similar court opens in Guangdong province a month later.
Dec 3, 2014:
Plans to develop circuit courts and courts with jurisdiction across different regions are approved in a move to promote judicial independence.
Dec 3, 2014:
The Beijing No. 4 Intermediate People's Court and the No. 4 People's Procuratorate open. Unlike district courts, they are authorized to hear cases from areas across the city.
Dec 28, 2014:
Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People's Court, the first in the city designed to hear cases that straddle different administrative regions, is established.
The No. 1 Circuit Court opens in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Three days later the No. 2 Circuit Court is established in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Both are used to lighten the load on the Supreme People's Court and make it more convenient for non-Beijing residents to bring cases to court.
Voices from two sessions
"I always pay attention to judicial reform, and I welcome the series of measures to reform the courts, public security bureaus and judicial authorities that have been put in place in the past year. The higher standards promoted by the reforms have put a lot of pressure on judges, but they've also improved things such as the quality of the written verdicts. It's necessary to provide court officials and others with better job security to lessen the pressures on them."
¡ª¡ª Deng Hui, a law lecturer at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics and a deputy at the National People's Congress
"Judicial reform and the rule of law are things everybody should take an interest in. The life of a law lies in its enforcement, while the key to implementation is to promote the laws and make more people abide by them. Justice can only be served if laws are enforced."
¡ª¡ª Qin Xiyan, a lawyer and NPC deputy from Hunan province
"I visited the circuit court in Shenzhen, and saw well-conducted legal proceedings that even included the judges patiently explaining the function of the court. The judicial reforms should reduce conflicts between residents and help maintain social stability. It was good to see the better protection for litigants, especially for defendants, that came into force last year. I hope these changes will continue and similar ones will be made in the future."
¡ª¡ª Zhu Lieyu, a lawyer and NPC deputy from Guangdong province
"China has not provided enough job security for judges, including pay, which has led to a brain drain. Trying cases needs a professional team, so a judge's income should be different from a civil servant's. Judges should primarily be concerned about the quality of the proceedings, and not administrative issues."
¡ª¡ª Zhu Zhengxu, a judge and NPC deputy from Henan province
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Top 10 Chinese companies leading patent race in Europe (2015-03-04,China Daily)
European Patent Office (EPO), the executive arm of the European Patent Organization, an institute that is responsible for patent approval and protection in Europe, released an annual report on patent filings in 2014 on Feb 26 in Brussels, Belgium.
The figures show that Chinese applicants accounted nine percent of the 274,000 patent filings to the EPO last year.
And with 1,600 patent filings, China's Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, topped the Chinese applicants. It is also the first time that the company entered the world's top five patent filing firms, following Samsung, Philips, Siemens and LG.
Let's take a look at the top 10 Chinese applicants that filed most patents in 2014.
No 10 Nuctech Company Ltd Number of patent applications: 38
No 9 Xiaomi Inc Number of patent applications: 43
No 8 Chinese Academy of Sciences Number of patent applications: 45
No 7 Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co Ltd Number of patent applications: 46
No 6 China Academy of Telecommunications Technology Number of patent applications: 66
No 5 Boe Technology Group Co Ltd Number of patent applications: 68
No 4 BYD Company Ltd Number of patent applications: 88
No 3 Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Ltd Number of patent applications: 97
No 2 ZTE Corporation Number of patent applications: 476
No 1 Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Number of patent applications: 1600
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9th UK-China Intellectual Property Salon held in Beijing (2015-03-04,People's Daily )
The 9th UK-China Intellectual Property Salon was held in Beijing Shangri-La Hotel today. With the theme of "Geographical Indication Protection: Challenges and opportunities", it attracted many college professors and students, IP scholars, lawyers and media workers to participate in.
Li Zuming, the Director of GI Research Centre in China University of Political Science and Law, gave an opening speech in the salon.
Jointly hosted by the British Embassy Beijing and China University of Politics Science and Law, this salon undertook deep and all-around analyses of Geographical Indication Protection in China, the UK and Europe. It aimed at discussing the different functions of GLs geographic indications and trademarks, the methods of monitoring and protecting the registered GLs (post-registration enforcement), and the responsibilities of producers and government etc.
Lindesay Low, the Legal Advisor of Scotch Whisky Association, shared the experience of global protection of Scotch Whisky GIs and trademarks with audiences. Four speakers led a heated discussion and answered questions of the audience.
The salon strengthens the attention to and promotes the development of GIs in China and the global system. It also reminds us the challenges and opportunities in front of us.
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Authority releases evidence for Qualcomm fine (2015-03-03,People's Daily )
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Monday released the evidence it used against US mobile phone chip maker Qualcomm Inc in the record antitrust fine announced last month.
Data showed that Qualcomm had absolute dominance in the licensing of some patents in wireless communication and it had misused its market position by charging an unfairly high patent fee, the NDRC said in a document posted on its website.
Qualcomm was fined 6.09 billion yuan ($975 million) by the NDRC in February.
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Charges against cancer patient who sold generic drugs dropped (2015-02-27,China Daily)
The charges against a leukemia patient who bought unapproved cancer drugs overseas to treat himself and fellow patients were dropped on Thursday, reported Xinhua News Agency on Friday.
The procuratorate of Yuanjiang, a city in Hunan province, decided not to file a lawsuit against Lu Yong on the grounds that he did not make profits from buying the generic cancer drugs from India.
46-year-old Lu was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002. He was prescribed Gleevec, a Swiss-made cancer medicine that cost him more than 23,000 yuan ($3,500) a month, before he found a more affordable Indian make of the drug, which only costs 200 yuan a month.
Lu posted his experience online and soon drew the attention of many fellow leukemia patients who asked him to buy the medicine on their behalf.
However, medications unapproved by Chinese authorities are regarded as illegal in the country. Lu was arrested in 2013 on charges of selling counterfeit drugs and using an illegal credit card.
More than 3 million Chinese develop cancer each year and 2.2 million of them die, according to the World Health Organization. Many patients abandon treatment because they cannot afford it.
This buyers' club needs all help it can get
By Ravi Shankar
When I first moved to Beijing a decade ago, healthcare costs came as a shock. Even allowing for the "premium" foreigners are charged for the privilege of easier access to doctors, they seemed out of sync with the general cost of living.
In Hong Kong, where I was earlier based, a visit to the GP cost a fifth of what I was paying here.
In India, for top-notch private care, it would cost a fraction compared to Beijing. An X-ray or an MRI costs a tenth of what I would pay here.
But most scandalous are the price of medicines here - as has been well documented - where multinationals routinely colluded with hospitals to make healthcare virtually unaffordable to a vast number of Chinese.
So I readily acquiesced when a Chinese colleague asked if I could arrange to get medicines from India for an aunt suffering from lung cancer - the price difference for the same drug between China and India was astronomical.
It's another matter that I couldn't do it since no courier company in India was willing to bring in the medicine, citing Chinese regulations. This was a long time ago but the case of leukemia patient Lu Yong struck a ready chord with me - and millions of Chinese.
His story, briefly: Lu, inspired by the award-winning film Dallas Buyers Club, smuggled unapproved, Indian-made drugs for himself and about 1,000 others at prices which do not even bear comparison in China. He paid around 200 yuan ($32) for a month's supply of a generic version of a drug - originally developed by a major multinational company - which would have cost him 23,000 yuan here and is not covered under health insurance in most cases.
The catch was the Indian drug - produced legitimately in the country under laws which allow for manufacture of generic drugs once the patents, typically held by multinationals, expire - was not approved in China and Lu was detained last month by police in Hunan province for allegedly selling counterfeit drugs.
The robust Chinese social media took up his case - and whether the issue was related or not - the prosecutors dropped charges against him.
Lu will not be the last person to take to "smuggling". Apparently, Indian-made generic versions of expensive cancer drugs are in great demand in China, online sales agents told China Daily.
A leading oncologist told this newspaper that he sympathized with Lu's plight and called on the authorities to address the issue: "To some extent, Lu Yong and Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club are all heroes struggling for their own and other people's lives."
After all, the "factory of the world", which makes inexpensive goods for the rest of the world, could try its hand at making drugs affordable for its own people.
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China becomes important applicant for patents in Europe: EPO president (2015-02-27,Xinhua)
China has become one of the important applicants for patents in Europe in recent years, said European Patent Office (EPO) president Benoit Battistelli here on Thursday.
Battistelli made the comment during an interview with Xinhua before the press conference as the EPO released its annual report 2014 in Brussels.
He introduced that the patent filings received by the EPO in 2014 hit a new record high of 274,174, growing by 3.1 percent compared with the previous year.
Filings from China reached 26,472, accounting for about 9 percent of the total, said he.
Among the top five countries with patent filings, China ranked the fourth, after the United States, Japan and Germany while followed by South Korea.
Moreover, the filings from China increased by 18.2 percent with the previous year.
"The increase is very impressive, and illustrates the dynamism of the Chinese economy and its stronger innovative capacity," said Battistelli.
"The applications from China are concentrated into one field, which is digital communication. Two Chinese companies, HUAWEI and ZTE, represented almost 70 percent of all the Chinese applications," explained the president.
Scientific institutions, research centers, universities from China were also quite active in patent applications as he pointed out that China Academy of Sciences, Peking University and Tsinghua University are on the list of the top 20 applicants from China.
The EPO granted about 64,600 patents in 2014, of which China only accounted for 2 percent. Battistelli explained that the granting of a patent tend to cost three to four years on average, so it was not surprising to see this result, and he stressed that the number of patents granted to applicants from China has grown rapidly than before.
Battistelli added that the EPO was happy to see the progress made by China as the EPO and China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) have a long tradition of cooperation.
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Lawmakers call for greater incentives for inventors (2015-02-27,Xinhua)
Chinese lawmakers on Friday asked for greater incentives for inventors in academia to commercially exploit their work.
The draft revision to the Law on Promoting the Transformation of Scientific and Technological Achievements is having its first reading at the top legislature's bi-monthly session.
Some lawmakers said the bottom line in the draft of no less than 20 percent of the inventions' worth to contributing scientists is too low.
Though the bill has space for better awards for contributing personnel, the 20 percent minimum remains the same as in the existing 1996 law, said National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee member Lu Hao.
Lu suggested that proportion should be at least 50 percent while China changes its development model and economic structure.
Inventions and awards should allow inventors to become millionaires, said Shi Lianxi, another member of the committee.
Despite huge amounts of money poured into research and development (R&D) and numerous patent applications, few of China's advances make it commercially. Spending on R&D reached 1.33 trillion yuan (217 billion U.S. dollars) last year, up 12.4 percent.
The draft is the first attempt to revise the law in nearly two decades and allows research establishments to retain all the income from their ideas instead of turning over gains to the treasury, theoretically allowing them to reward the best scientists and fund future research .
Some lawmakers want the government to play a greater role in fostering a favorable environment for these achievements. Many academic inventions are divorced from commercial needs and frustrate the inventors who see little profit in their ideas on the one hand, while desperate entrepreneurs seek new ideas on the other. Lawmakers argued that the government should bridge the gap.
Yan Junqi, an NPC Standing Committee member, suggested the government helps transform inventions into products, by promoting joint research with enterprises.
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Xiaomi US phone launch still on hold (2015-02-25,China Daily)
Xiaomi Corp is unlikely to launch its smartphones in the United States any time soon, industry experts said on Friday, after the Beijing-based company said it was looking to dip its toes in Apple Inc's home turf.
Top executives of the smartphone maker said in San Francisco that it was opening an online store in the US later this year. But the Chinese company is nowhere ready to really challenge Apple, which is the market leader in the US. The store will only sell handset accessories including headphones and affordable fitness bands. Its flagship products - the smartphones and tablets - will not be available for purchase.
Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's vice-president in charge of international operations, said Xiaomi will be very cautious about launching the Mi devices in the US market.
"The amount of effort required to bring those products (smartphones and tablets) to market is significant. We just have to move at the right pace," Barra said. "So we are accelerating our entry in a sense by bringing simpler products."
Barra, a former Google Inc executive who joined Xiaomi in 2013, said manufacturing, software compatibility and regulations are among the biggest hurdles for the company to introduce smartphones in developed markets including the US and Europe.
The small patent portfolio of Xiaomi will greatly hinder its business outside China.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm Inc, the world's largest mobile chipmaker and investor of Xiaomi, was fined a record 6.08 billion yuan ($975 million) for violating China's antitrust rules.
The US company also pledged to change the way it practiced the cross-licensing policy in which clients surrender their patents to Qualcomm in exchange for its technology.
Large smartphone vendors in China have criticized the model because smaller players can use their patents for free under the protection of the cross-licensing contract they have signed with Qualcomm.
Milly Xiang, an analyst at research firm IDC, said young vendors with fewer patents may face lawsuits if companies such as Lenovo Group Ltd and ZTE Corp stopped signing cross-licensing deals with Qualcomm.
Without the protection of Qualcomm, Xiaomi, a less than 5-year-old company, has to be cautious in patent issues.
Lin Bin, president and co-founder of Xiaomi, was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying that the company had been filing thousands of patents because lawsuits are inevitable.
Xiaomi's overseas expansion plan encountered a major setback in India last year after Ericsson AB sued the Chinese company for stealing patents. A local court at one time banned Xiaomi from selling its smartphones. In Singapore, the only developed smartphone market where Xiaomi has a presence, Xiaomi faced privacy investigations.
In addition, Xiaomi is inexperienced in selling devices with US carriers, another barrier for its US market entry.
Bryan Wang, vice-president and principal analyst at consultancy Forrester Research Inc, said telecom carriers are the biggest smartphone distribution platform in the US and it needs a long time for Xiaomi to forge relationships with the carriers to put the Mi phones in AT&T and Verizon's outlets.
"In the US, people are used to purchasing contract phones and top-tier devices such as the iPhone 6 can be really cheap compared to their original price. Xiaomi will find very difficult to survive when competing with Apple head-to-head," Wang said.
Xiaomi said its smartphone and tablet users exceeded 100 million. The company is fighting for the title as the top handset vendor in China with Samsung Electronics Co.
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China tops patent applications list in 2014 (2015-02-23,Xinhua)
China had more invention patent applications than any other country in 2014 for the fourth year running, official data showed on Monday.
The number of invention patent applications filed to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in 2014 stood at 928,000, up 12.5 percent from 2013, the SIPO said.
The office authorized a total of 233,000 invention patents in the year, 163,000 of which were from Chinese applicants.
By the end of 2014, China had 663,000 invention patents with high quality and market value, and the number of invention patents per 10,000 Chinese people reached 4.9, the SIPO said.
China has seen rising numbers of patent applications as part of a drive to upgrade the economy. However, the country's invention patents still lack a competitive edge, experts said.
One of the government's priorities has been to boost innovation by improving intellectual property rights protection.
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Always sunny, in the rich man's world (2015-02-16,China Daily)
He did not expect to make a huge fortune but solar panel king Li Hejun now rules the Hurun Rich List for the Chinese mainland. Hu Yuanyuan and Cheng Yingqi report.
For anyone keen on getting rich, Li Hejun has this brain-twisting advice: "If you want to make money, you need to stop thinking about making money."
Li, 48, knows a thing or two about the subject, having just been named the richest man on the Chinese mainland.
"When I fought to build my career I did not expect to make a huge fortune from it," Li said. "The money was just a bonus."
The Hurun Global Rich List 2015 saw Li, with his fortune of 160 billion yuan ($25.6 billion), knock Jack Ma Yun, chairman of Alibaba Group, off the top spot to be recognized as the richest person on the mainland.
The Hanergy Holding Group boss has seen his global ranking go up to No. 28 on the List, released on Feb 3.
Li's ascent to the top of the List is all the more remarkable given how rapid it was. He ranked 83 on the Hurun Global Rich List in 2013, when his fortune was estimated to be 13 billion yuan. For his meteoric rise Li can thank canny foresight and a technology called thin film solar power, a kind of mobile energy in the photovoltaic industry.
Li is board chairman and CEO of Beijing-based Hanergy Holding Group, the parent company of Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin Film Power. The stock price of Hanergy Thin Film has surged almost 250 percent since November 2013, and Li's fortune is now more than 10 times that a year back.
Previously, because of the roller-coaster ride the mainland photovoltaic industry endured over the previous three years, investors were decidedly wary of thin film power, an emerging technology in the industry.
The mainland photovoltaic industry emerged in 2002 and developed into the world's largest five years later, making immensely wealthy the likes of Shi Zhengrong, founder and former CEO of Suntech Power, one of the biggest mainland photovoltaic companies.
Between 2007 and 2011, production continued to grow, but this resulted in overproduction of crystalline silicon solar cells.
Because of anti-dumping policies in the US and the European Union that came into force in 2012, many mainland photovoltaic companies went bankrupt.
But three years earlier Li had started to invest in the immature but cleaner thin-film solar cell technology, though with a much higher threshold for technology access.
"Transforming the business was risky," Li said. "We budgeted 15 billion yuan for the solar energy project, but in the end I spent more than 40 billion yuan on it."
Hanergy Holding, established in 1994, specialized in hydropower and wind power projects in its first 10 years, and accumulated 6 gigawatts of installed capacity of hydropower and 131 megawatts of installed capacity of wind power.
With cash flow from installed hydroelectric stations and windmills, the company bought a variety of solar energy companies worldwide, including German battery producer Solibro and US thin film producers MiaSole, Global Solar Energy and Alta Devices.
"I did not make those investments to make more money, because I already had enough money from the hydropower projects," Li recalled.
"I decided to enter the solar energy field only because I believed the technology would change the world. For me, entrepreneurship is about having the guts to do what you want to do, but to do it at your peril."
On the wall of Li's office in Beijing hang the carved 18 cultural codes of Hanergy, and top of the list is "changing the world with clean energy is our shared belief".
With ever-growing energy efficiency, thin-film solar power now has application in architectural curtain walls, roof power generators and wearable devices, such as clothes, as well as tents.
Dreams from his father
The courage Li speaks of was no doubt inherited from his father, one of the earliest self-employed entrepreneurs on the mainland.
Li recalled hearing a conversation between his parents in 1972, during the "cultural revolution"(1966-76), when people were routinely jailed for the crime of speculation, or any trading outside the planned economy.
"My mother worried that my father would be arrested over his business dealings, but he told her to stop worrying because things would change one day.
"That's another business philosophy I learned from my father: Keep your eye on the current and swim with it."
Even though Li's father had been a successful mine owner in Guangdong province, the young Li was determined to start his own business when he graduated from Beijing Jiaotong University in 1988.
He borrowed 50,000 yuan from a college professor to run a business with 17 partners. They sold toys and electronic devices in the tech hub of Zhongguancun in Beijing. They managed to amass nearly 80 million yuan in six years, and then bought a small hydropower station in Heyuan, Guangdong province, marking their entry into the power industry.
A big breakthrough came in 2002 when Li won a tender to build six power plants in Yunnan province.
However, he was not the only investor waiting to seize the opportunity, and no sooner had he and his company been awarded the contract than it was snatched away from them.
The local government decided instead to award the contract to several State-owned companies, and Li sued the local development and reform commission.
The case was settled when the local government awarded one of the six hydropower projects to Li's company, Jin'anqiao Hydropower Station, which has become the world's largest hydropower station operated by a private company. Apart from power, it generates more than 10 million yuan a day that go straight into Li's company bank account.
Another of Hanergy's 18 cultural codes reads: The key for success is people, people and still people.
"I am a hands-off guy. I trust my staff," said Li. And he appears to live up to his word as he paid just six visits to the Jin'anqiao Hydropower Station during its eight-year construction period.
Hanergy also developed a dozen talent training programs targeting different levels of staff. According to a senior manager who took part in one of the elite programs, Li gives them a lecture each month.
"He likes reading books, especially those about Chinese traditional culture. In the last lecture, he shared with us his understanding about a few books by Zhao Puchu, a late religious leader," said the senior manager who declined to be named.
Besides, Hanergy staff pay just 0.01 yuan to have breakfast and lunch in their Beijing office canteens. The company's headquarters, located just beside the Olympic Forest Park, consists of three four-story buildings, all using its thin-film solar technology to produce electricity.
"Now those facilities can produce 20 percent of the electricity we need. When the second-phase program finishes in the first half of 2015, we can totally rely on our own electricity," said Leon Liu, head of Hanergy's external communication department.
Betting on success
"Successful entrepreneurs take their chances," Li said. "But they are not simply gamblers; they always prepare for the worst possible outcomes."
As Chinese companies rush into the crystalline silicon solar cell business, Li sees new opportunities in thin-film solar cells, or what he calls "mobile energy".
"It's impossible to overlook the changes mobile Internet has made in people's lives. I reckon that mobile energy is the technology of the future."
But even if shareholders set a lot of store in the future, that may not translate into profits here and now. The Financial Times of London reported that most of Hanergy Thin Film Power's products were sold to other companies under the same parent, Hanergy Holding Group.
"We are running a whole industrial chain because at the moment very few companies anywhere in the world are in the thin-film solar business," Li said. With more than 2,000 patents at home and abroad, Hanergy has few competitors in the field, he said.
The group will unveil five solar-energy cars in October, he said, the first mass-produced solar energy cars of their kind.
"I reckon 90 percent of the effort you put into anything produces 10 per cent of your success, and that the very last 10 percent of effort produces 90 percent of your success. So wise entrepreneurs keep an eye on the current, have the courage to swim with it, and stick with it until it takes them where they want to go."
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Supply, Demand Boom for China's Fakes (2015-02-13,China Daily)
Despite more and larger seizures of counterfeit goods in the United States, the flow doesn't stop. And China, the world's largest manufacturer of goods, is by far the largest source of fake goods, reports AMY HE from New York.
On a wintry afternoon in February, a number of Chinese men and women huddle in front of a Starbucks on the corner of Centre and Canal streets in New York's Chinatown.
Wearing thick scarves and down jackets to keep them warm, the men sit on a railing outside the coffee shop; the women chat among themselves. Walking past the women, one can hear them repeatedly muttering: "Pocketbooks, handbags, jewelry."
If any interest is demonstrated, they pull out folded laminated menus filled with pictures of bags - Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Michael Kors and more - all available for cash and all fakes.
A large Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag costs $120; retail price: $1,340. An Herms Birkin is $150; retail starts at $5,000.
For years that street action has been repeated every day in Chinatown and nearby Canal Street for a willing audience of buyers, almost all of them tourists who want the same thing: copies of trendy and expensive designer bags, sunglasses, watches and other goods.
The bag men - and women - in Chinatown are easy to find. If they can't be spotted on the street with or without the goods, the Internet can help with numerous articles: A Guide to Buying Fake Handbags in New York City and Here's How to Buy a Fake Bag in Chinatown.
One article tells would-be buyers that "it might be best to act relatively quickly" because of Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin's effort to make buying counterfeit bags illegal.
That warning was in 2013. Chin's effort went nowhere, though she says she's still trying to get the City Council to pass what would be the country's first law to criminalize the buying of counterfeit goods by buyers, not just sellers. Chin said that the city loses $1 billion in tax revenue from counterfeits.
Despite large and more frequent seizures of counterfeit goods, the flow into this country is increasing. And despite rising labor costs and China's desire to shift from being solely a manufacturing-based economy, the country remains the world's biggest producer of manufactured goods and fake goods.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 70 percent of all counterfeits seized globally from 2008 to 2010 came from China. For the United States, US Customs said 87 percent of counterfeits seized originated in China. In terms of value, the UN estimates that East Asia exports approximately $24 billion worth of counterfeit goods every year.
For 2015, the International Chamber of Commerce projected that the value of global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is $1.77 trillion, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition Inc (IACC). The Washington-based non-profit is devoted solely to combating product counterfeiting and piracy. IACC says its members include small to large multinational companies in automotive, apparel, luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, food, software and entertainment.
In addition to tax revenues, the counterfeiters strip earnings from authentic retailers and companies.
Intellectual property (IP) and brand experts say that not much has changed in regards to counterfeits. The global economy will always run rampant with fake goods from China, they say, and US-China efforts to combat the problem have not yet yielded significant results. The experts say that there's not a lot of incentive to enforce IP protection in China on a local level, and even if there is a desire on a national level, the sheer volume of IP infringements in the country makes it difficult for authorities to crack down on the issue completely.
"There are two things that are happening in China that are unique to the country and that causes the problem of counterfeiting to be bigger in China," said Greg Miller, president of brand security at OpSec, a brand protection company.
"Most of the leading brands have things that are outsourced to a Chinese manufacturer, so the supply chain for authentic goods is all throughout China for a tremendous amount of the global economy. That same ecosystem supports counterfeiters either directly - leakage of product out of a legitimate supply chain - or indirectly, relying on local manufacturer expertise to set up illegitimate manufacturing sites," he said.
And the second thing is the Internet. Customers now have easier access to retailers - authorized or not - who are selling these products, Miller said.
"If you can think of something, it's been counterfeited," said Kim Ciccolella, assistant chief of the international mail facility at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, which processes all arriving international mail for the United States.
Sports memorabilia are perennial counterfeit favorites, she says.
Just days ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb 1, federal authorities and the National Football League seized more than $19.5 million worth of fake sports memorabilia, a culmination of a year-long crackdown that began after the Super Bowl in 2014.
Most of the 325,000 goods seized were manufactured in China and then brought into the US through various smuggling networks, according to the US Customs officials involved in the seizure.
The counterfeit problem started years ago when Western brands made their entrance into China, according to David Chow, professor of law at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. "Thirty years ago, there was no counterfeiting in China because there were no multinational brands. But 25 years ago, when that began, then you began to see it. By the end of the 1990s, you saw a lot of counterfeiting in China, and it hasn't really gone away," he said.
Millions of parcels leave Chinese ports every day, and the Chinese don't have the resources to screen everything, nor are they particularly interested in doing so because once the products leave, they become another country's problem, Chow said.
"China doesn't really believe that counterfeiting is harmful to China or that cracking down on it would hurt local economies and local businesses more than just letting it continue to exist. It's especially the export of counterfeit goods that are of little concern to China, because once you export those goods, they leave the country and they wind up somewhere else, so they don't think about the harm that might be caused to China," Chow said.
Richard Sybert, senior partner and chair of Gordon Rees LLP's intellectual property practice group, said that it benefits local governments to encourage counterfeiting.
"Counterfeiting provides a source of income and it provides jobs. And especially once you're away from the big modern cities in China - a lot of the rural economies have collapsed. There's a lot of poverty in China in light of the flight of industry and population to the coasts, so there's a tremendous incentive and vested interest in local governments in encouraging and even supporting counterfeiting," he said.
Government officials can also get indirect benefits from counterfeiting, according to Peter Yu, director of the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University Law School.
Ports can charge fees for storage in warehouses and can levy taxes on goods leaving the port, which doesn't discriminate over whether the goods are legitimate or not, he said.
"Think about the Yangtze River. If you are counting on the volume of goods going through your port, it does not matter whether they're legitimate products or counterfeit products," Yu said. "It's very attractive if you're charging the taxes or the fees based on the volume of goods."
Since entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000, China has adopted intellectual property laws that are consistent with international standards. Prior to that, the government had established IP laws to be on par with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement, which is administered by the WTO and lays down the minimum standards of IP regulation for member countries.
"If you look at the laws on the books, China at the national level has a pretty good set of IP protection laws, especially regarding trademarks, which is your primary line of defense against counterfeits. The laws on the books are good - the national government is actually making and has made some serious good faith efforts," said Sybert.
The challenge, however, is enforcement of the laws and setting up effective deterrents that will discourage counterfeiters from committing the crime, he said. Both Chow and Sybert said that the country will regularly work with multinational brands to conduct raids and seize counterfeit property, but they said doing so has no meaningful impact on the criminal activity because the penalties often are not serious enough punishment to deter counterfeiters.
"The civil penalties or criminal penalties for counterfeiting under Chinese law are just too low. They're so low that you can pay them and still make more money from the counterfeiting," Sybert said.
If the penalty for getting caught at counterfeiting is $100,000, for example, and counterfeiters make many times more than that on a weekly or monthly basis, the fees are not big enough a threat to stop counterfeiting, they said. "We have seen repeatedly that enforcement efforts don't have much of an impact. They'll pay the fines, and they'll set up shop two days later across the street," said Sybert.
As to brands protecting their products being counterfeited, OpSec's Miller said that companies have gotten immensely savvier. They work with brand protection companies like his to monitor the Internet for counterfeit goods being sold on e-commerce sites, verify the authenticity of the goods they come across and shut down marketplaces selling fake ones.
Brands need to track their distribution chains in China to make sure products are being made where they're supposed to, and getting distributed where they're authorized to do so, Miller said. Things are put on labels on the authentic goods that are difficult to counterfeit, and that helps not only customs officials but consumers verify the products' authenticity.
As to what the US can do, authorities say the sheer volume of cargo and parcels arriving at the country's ports is a problem. The JFK International Mail Facility in New York processes 500,000 to 600,000 pieces of international mail a day, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can only examine so much. Mail from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and other countries and regions are targeted and a percentage of all mail is checked by experts and agents on hand, according to the CBP's Ciccolella.
Express mail parcels - where the majority of IP infractions occur because of the quick delivery time and the ability for buyers to track their packages - are scanned by an X-ray system. Packages that are suspected of IP violation get appraised by on-site experts. If the contents are determined to be counterfeit, they get turned over to the seized property division before being destroyed.
Buyers are notified of seizures and given an opportunity to offer proof of authenticity if they feel their package was wrongly seized. Most people - Ciccolella estimates 99 percent - don't petition and just forfeit their packages.
Counterfeiters don't make too much of an effort to conceal their packages beyond purposefully mislabeling the contents on an invoice, or just saying that a package is a "gift" for the receiver. "For the most part, there's no concealment; you open it up and right there are the products," Ciccolella said.
Shippers often send goods to individual buyers, who are most likely buying products off the Internet without realizing they're fake.
"A lot of individuals would think that because they're buying something online, it's genuine, or they think that it's getting shipped from China so they're getting a good deal, not realizing that when it's so much cheaper than the actual product, it's going to be counterfeit," she said.
If customs agents notice large shipments going to individuals or businesses, or shipments going to repeat individuals, they will notify Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which will conduct their own examinations.
"It's difficult from an investigative standpoint - if it goes to an individual, for example, I can get 20 boxes, my cousin can get 20, my friend gets 20, you won't see them on the street or sold at flea markets," Ciccolella said. "We do get boxes of 50 or 60 watches, so it's unlikely that that will be for personal use. But if it goes to individuals, it goes to different individuals. And it's not only local - it comes in here and then it gets shipped out to other states as well."
The most recent figures from the Customs and Border Protection for 2013 show that intellectual property rights violations seizures increased 7 percent from those in fiscal year 2012. The total manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of the goods, if they had been genuine, increased 38 percent to $1.74 billion. Of that total, seizures originating from China were valued at $1.1 billion, representing 68 percent of all IPR seizures.
Figures show that IPR seizures have increased approximately five-fold in the last decade, from about 6,000 in 2004 to nearly 25,000 in 2013.
Ciccolella said that customs officials at JFK will work with those from other ports around the country on operations. She said that Chinese customs officials have toured the JFK mail facility and told US agents that they examine all outgoing mail leaving China.
"I'm not really sure how it's possible since we get so many counterfeits. They said that they make every effort to stop it from reaching the United States," she said.
But at the same time, the experts said that there is a limit to how much China, and the US, can do to combat the pervasiveness of counterfeiting. Regions in China that have been more active in protecting intellectual property rights are not always the places that are manufacturing and moving large amounts of counterfeit goods out of the country.
"If you look at China, it's a large country. A lot of the developments in the IP areas are in the coastal areas and a lot of this development has not trickled down to the other parts of China, where there is still a lot of production of pirated and counterfeit materials," said Drake Law's Yu.
The US and other Western countries that complain about counterfeiting often view China as a large, centralized government, and thus take complaints directly to Beijing, not realizing that authorities in Beijing that make decisions in the city might not necessarily affect those on the opposite side of the country, Yu said.
Sybert similarly said that central authority dissipates once you're away of the big cities.
"The old Chinese saying that, 'The sky is high and the emperor is far away.' The popular perception in the West is that somehow China's this monolithic, totalitarian, authoritarian society where everything is controlled. That absolutely is not the truth. A hundred miles outside of Shanghai or Beijing, and to some degree, the central government no longer exists. It's a big, fissiparous country," he said.
Much of the judicial structure in China is also overwhelmed by the number of intellectual property cases it sees in court, Sybert added, and the government tries to staff and fund them adequately, "but there's just too much and they continue to get backlog."
Mary LaFrance, professor of law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, said that enforcement is hindered by a bureaucratic system that has trademark owners pursuing relief at a local rather than a federal level, and that local enforcement systems are "cumbersome and inconsistent".
But despite some calling China's efforts inadequate, no country on Earth has made as many advances in their legal system where intellectual property is concerned, and in such a short amount of time, Yu said.
"China at the moment is probably the most litigious in terms of IP protection, so if you actually look at the number of cases that has gone before the Chinese court and the number is actually higher than all the other countries. If you look at the number of people that have been devoted to IP enforcement, it's also the highest in the world," said Yu.
"So I think to some extent it's hard to just say that China has not been doing enough. Because at some point, you just have to ask: how much can they actually do if you're already No 1 in the world in terms of IP cases that have gone before the court? No 1 in the world in terms of enforcement?"
Back at Centre and Canal streets in Chinatown, the passerby turned would-be buyer has chosen a bag and is told "follow me" and waits outside a hair salon a short distance from the Starbucks.
After no more than five minutes, the seller brings back the item and tells the buyer to examine it. The price is $120. The buyer offers $70. The seller counters with $85. "That's the best I can do," he says. But the buyer insists on $70, and then tells him to forget about it, that she'll look elsewhere. "Fine, I can give it to you for $70. But just know that I rarely do that. I'm doing it just for you."
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For many of China's biotech brains-in-exile, it's time to come home (2015-02-13,China Daily)
In biotech parks across the Yangtze River Delta, dozens of start-ups are working to develop drugs to treat China's biggest emerging diseases - from diabetes and Hepatitis B to respiratory illnesses and cancer.
It's early days, but firms like Hua Medicine and Innovent Biologics embody China's hopes for competitive biomedical innovation. And their Chinese-born, Western-educated founders represent the long-awaited return of the nation's brightest life scientists.
From school in the late 1970s and 1980s, when only elite students gained entry into China's few biochemistry and molecular biology programs, they left China, graduated and worked their way up to senior positions in the world's top pharmaceutical companies.
It took the jobs squeeze of the 2008 global financial crisis and fresh government incentives - from state-of-the-art research labs to grants, loans and government venture capital - to prise them from international careers to launch their own start-ups in China.
"If returnees want to do innovation, in academia there is traditional resistance and old practices," said Huiyao Wang at the Center for China & Globalization. "It's the private sector that really attracts people to start new ventures."
China has committed more than $300 billion to science and technology, with biotech one of seven pillar industries in the latest Five-Year Plan. Biomedical research investment jumped more than four-fold in 2007-12, though it is still dwarfed by spending in the United States and Europe, according to a 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Returnee firms have listed in New York and London, work closely with 'Big Pharma' and attract investment from US venture capital and multinationals.
"China is coming up, especially with returnees coming back. The innovation will come with the people," said Jimmy Zhang, a vice-president at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which opened a regional center in Shanghai last autumn.
"I sometimes ask myself, 'why did I return to China?' I had a very comfortable life in the US and my family's still there," said Michael Yu, Innovent's founder and CEO. "But for lots of Chinese men, there's always something in the heart ... a desire to go back and do something. Biotech has only just started in China so you can have significant impact for a whole industry, for a country."
After completing postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, Yu spent a decade at US biotech firms before going home in 2006 to co-found Kanghong Biotech, which developed the first homegrown innovative monoclonal antibody to be approved by China's regulators. He later launched Innovent with funding from Chinese and US-based investors, including bioBAY, a government-funded biosciences park in Suzhou. BioBAY spent $140 million on Innovent's 1 million square foot (92,903 square metre) laboratory and production facility.
Another returnee, Li Chen, was chief scientific officer at Roche's China R&D center when, in 2009, he was invited to dinner by US-based ARCH Venture Partners, which encouraged him to go out on his own. "It wasn't something I was expecting," Chen said. He launched Hua Medicine in 2011 with $50 million from US and Chinese investors. Last month, it closed another $25 million in series-B financing.
The returnee start-ups are leveraging shifts in the global R&D landscape. The financial crisis, expiry of blockbuster drug patents, and mega-mergers have forced major drugs firms to reprioritize, giving newcomers a chance to develop promising compounds already in the pipeline.
Hua is about to launch Phase 2 trials for a novel Type 2 diabetes drug in-licensed from Roche. Zai Laboratory, another returnee firm, has an in-licensing deal with Sanofi to develop two compounds to potentially treat chronic respiratory diseases.
By focusing on diseases that are on the rise in China, these firms can recruit from a vast patient population, speeding up the time it takes to conduct clinical studies.
However, China's regulatory environment, especially for drug approval, "has been quite inefficient and often inadequate," says Jonathan Wang at OrbiMed, a global healthcare-dedicated investment firm. Getting approval for human trials can take over a year, compared to just weeks in the United States.
"Everything else being equal, you'd go where the approval process is easier," said Wang.
Empty nests and angel money
For some, coming home is as much a personal as professional issue. Many are 'empty nesters' whose own children are now at college, or they have ageing parents.
"In the US, people have family and friends who can support them with 'angel money.' As first-generation immigrants, we don't have that kind of access there," said Zhang at J&J Innovation.
For the returnees, it's just the beginning.
"We've planted the seed for a fast-growing, innovation driven environment in China," said Steve Yang, chief operating officer at WuXi AppTec. "The impact of this group will be better measured in another 10-20 years."
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Chinese mobile sensation dips toes in US with accessories (2015-02-13,China Daily)
Xiaomi, one of China's hottest companies, is bringing its blend of cheap yet fashionable technology and crowd-pleasing antics to the US.
Although its smartphones won't be available in San Francisco anytime soon, Xiaomi unveiled plans Thursday to test the US market by selling inexpensive headphones and other accessories online. It plans to hew to the Internet-driven, customer-friendly model that has helped turn the company into a major player in mobile computing just five years after its founding.
Xiaomi, pronounced schow-mee, has made a name in China by selling sleek gadgets at relatively low prices, using online sales and social media to keep marketing and distribution costs low. Some analysts have hailed the company as the Chinese equivalent of Apple, in part because of its intensely loyal fans.
There are some significant differences between the two companies' approach, though. While Apple tends to keep its future product plans secret, Xiaomi has invited customers to nosh on popcorn at company parties, chat on Xiaomi's online forums and review or make suggestions for new features, which Xiaomi frequently builds into its weekly software updates.
"We don't have customers or users. They prefer to be addressed as fans," said Hugo Barra, who defected from his job overseeing Google's Android products in 2013 to help plot Xiaomi's expansion outside China.
Barra was joined Thursday by Lin Bin, Xiaomi's co-founder and president, at the company's first major press event in the United States.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barra described the US website as "an experimental launch" that will help the company raise awareness in the US, which in turn would help its profile in other countries. He said the company also is hoping to get the kind of feedback and ideas from US consumers that the company gathers in China.
Xiaomi has emerged as a mobile-computing sensation with a line of smartphones sold in China, India and six other countries where much of the population still lacks Internet access. The company plans to expand into Brazil later this year. The phones offer a smattering of the sleek technology featured in fancier devices made by Apple and Samsung, but they sell at much lower prices, ranging from about $95 to $280. In comparison, an iPhone 6 starts at $650 without subsidies for signing two-year contracts.
A Xiaomi phone "may not be the best product out there but a product with the best combination: a very affordable price and good quality," said Teng Bingsheng, a corporate strategy expert at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing.
While the iPhone still dominates the smaller luxury segment of China's market, Xiaomi's devices are being snapped up by the masses almost as quickly as the company starts accepting online orders. Xiaomi sold about 61 million phones last year, more than tripling its 2013 volume, Lin said. That established Xiaomi as China's top seller of smartphones with a 15 percent market share to edge out Samsung at 14 percent, according to research firm IHS. But another firm, Canalys, estimates that Apple sold more phones in China than either of those companies in the fourth quarter of 2014, when Apple's new iPhone 6 models came out.
By concentrating on online sales of phones and accessories, Lin said, the company has built the third-largest e-commerce site in China. Besides phones, Xiaomi has an electronics lineup that ranges from a 49-inch flat-panel TV for $550 to a fitness band for about $13. The company also has sold about 2 million stuffed bunnies that serve as Xiaomi's mascot.
Xiaomi is just dipping its toes in the US market by selling accessories for now, including headphones for about $80. Barra said it takes "an incredible amount of work" to bring more technologically complicated products, such as a smartphone, to a new market. He didn't say when that might happen.
But executives acknowledged the company would face big hurdles in the US, where most consumers buy smartphones from wireless carriers at subsidized prices. That could make Xiaomi's low-margin business model less effective here.
In addition, Xiaomi has been accused of copying-or at least closely imitating-some designs from Apple or other companies. At the San Francisco event Thursday, executives stressed an array of software and features that Xiaomi has developed to run on top of the Android system that Google makes available for other device makers. They range from games and messaging features to services that let users search for a nearby doctor and make an appointment on their phones.
When asked whether a fear of patent lawsuits could deter Xiaomi from selling phones in the United States, Lin implied that it's not a big factor for the company. But he said, "all companies have had patent litigation." He said Xiaomi has filed for hundreds of patents in part to beef up its own defenses against such claims.
Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion late last year in an investment that valued the privately held company at $45 billion. The company's eight founders include CEO Lei Jun, one of China's best-known technology entrepreneurs; Lin Bin, a former engineer at Microsoft and Google; and former Motorola executive Zhou Guangping.
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Patent dispute threatens Xiaomi's India future (2015-02-13,China Daily)
Patent disputes between Xiaomi, an emerging smartphone maker in China, and Swedish telecom company Ericsson continue after Ericsson claimed Xiaomi violated an order from Delhi High Court on Feb 5.
In December the Indian court banned Xiaomi from selling phones in India as it found the company did not pay royalties to Ericsson, which owns patents for technology used in Xiaomi phones.
At the court hearing on Feb 5, Ericsson claimed that Xiaomi continued to sell phones that used its patented technology in India through a website called xiaomishop.com.
Xiaomi denied the accusation and said it did not authorize the website to sell its products. The phone maker said it had nothing to do with the e-commerce website, which it alleged infringed Xiaomi's brand rights and was ordered to stop selling Xiaomi products.
In December, Ericsson sued Xiaomi in India, claiming it violated its patent rights. Delhi High Court ordered Xiaomi and its local e-commerce partner Flipkart to stop selling handsets in India until Feb 5, when the court was due to hear Ericsson's patent-infringement case, Indian media reported.
The court gave an interim order to Xiaomi on Dec 16 to permit sales of only its Qualcomm chip-based handsets, with the condition the company deposited 100 rupees ($1.6) to the court for each phone sold.
Wang Yanhui, a mobile phone industry insider, suggested the interim ruling could have been made because Qualcomm and Ericsson have patent authorization from each other and Xiaomi may have paid royalties to Qualcomm but not Ericsson.
In a public statement Ericsson said that it asked the Indian court to appoint a local commissioner to examine all Xiaomi phones imported to India and the court agreed.
Xiaomi said the interim order was valid until March 18, when the court will hold another hearing for the dispute, which also involves Xiaomi's authorized dealer in India£Flipkart.
Xiaomi said it planned to resort to legal action to protect itself from xiaomishop.com.
Ericsson said in December it tried to talk to Xiaomi about royalties for the past three years but Xiaomi did not respond.
Sales of Xiaomi handsets reached 1 million units in India in six months after it entered the market in July 2014, Manu Kumar Jain, Indian head of the company, said on Twitter in December.
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Even cars sometimes take the train (2015-02-13,China Daily)
Train workers busily load dozens of containers carrying cars onto the train at the station in Chengdu. But this is no ordinary freight train.
It is the only one in China that regularly sets out to the five central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, running every 10 days and taking about five to seven days to pass through them to its ultimate destination.
"Some international railways such as this one that connect Chengdu with the rest of the world are helping us build our international business," says Hou Haijing, group vice-president of Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co Ltd, the largest private carmaker in China.
Hou, the director of Geely in Chengdu, also known as Chengdu Gaoyuan Automobiles Industrial Co Ltd, says it has been a huge beneficiary as the railways of western China have developed.
"A railway system for a city is as critical as arteries and veins are to the human body," Hou says.
"A complete railway system is essential for a city to grow properly. The rapidly growing railways of western China have added greatly to the region's growth."
Geely's Chengdu plant covering 150,000 square meters was built at a cost of 3 billion yuan ($480 million; 424 million euros), and opened in 2011. It employs 1,500 people.
The local company is critical to the Geely group's success, Hou says.
"It is Geely's only factory that focuses on producing SUVs. All of our SUVs are made here. We started to use the Central Asian international line when it opened last year, and as a result our exports from Chengdu have risen almost 15 percent compared with 2013."
The SUVs made in Chengdu go to 10 countries and regions including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.
"We plan to make full use of the international railways in Chengdu and make made-in-China vehicles world famous," Hou says.
"We don't export our cars to Europe and the United States now, but we plan to soon."
The Chengdu factory produced about 65,000 cars last year, 7.64 percent more than in 2013, and it hopes to produce about 80,000 this year, he says.
"We sold 10,000 SUVs in January alone."
Geely gained about less than one percent of the global SUV market in terms of sales.
"The market needs further consolidation," Hou says. "The Chengdu operations are growing, and our SUVs will be among the top 10 best sellers in China this year."
The company hopes more international railways such as the Central Asian one will open in the future.
"Given the absence of international railways, we now have to combine water or road transport with railways to export our products."
If it needs to urgently ship high-value added components, the company uses air freight, he says.
"That's very expensive. In addition, transporting by road and sea is a lot slower than if you do it by rail. For us, rail is the most efficient way of shipping, particularly when it comes to exports.
"SUVs are generally bigger than other cars, and you usually need a whole container to ship just one of them. We reckon there should be discounts for transporting them by train."
Hou, 42, born in a small village of Jingjiang city, Jiangsu province, became an engineer for General Motors for 1998 after studying at Shanghai Tongji University.
"I have seen the Chinese car industry grow, and that includes seeing the production of the first cars GM made in China," he says.
"I hope I can do my bit to help Chinese cars make it on the global stage."
Hou joined Geely Group in 2011 and became one of the group's vice-presidents. He was posted to Chengdu in 2012 and put in charge of the group's business development in western China.
To his mind, the dramatic changes in Chengdu over the past few years mirror the achievements China has gained since the nation's reform and opening-up began in 1978.
"When I first came to Chengdu in 2000 for the first time it was laid back compared with cities like Shanghai," Hou says. "When I got back here 12 years later the changes that had taken place amazed me.
"I don't think there is much difference between Chengdu and other big cities like Beijing and Shanghai now."
Western China has distinct advantages over eastern China such as lower labor costs and a lower cost of living, Hou says.
"Not only that, but natural resources such as land, water and electricity are cheaper."
The car industry has had tremendous local government support, he says.
"Chengdu's industrial chains here are well established and complete, and it is easy for the company to buy manufacturing components and develop new products."
The development of railways in western China means more opportunities for the region, he says.
"It creates jobs and helps attract foreign investment. It also improves people's lives. I know that personally, being a user of the high-speed train between Chengdu and Chongqing."
Of Geely's employees in Chengdu, he says: "Most are local, and they tend to stay here for a long time because the city is such a pleasant place to live in."
Geely has plans to expand its Chengdu operations, he says.
"We want to build another factory here, to develop more production lines and new products."
Geely has about 1,500 patents, not including those belonging to Volvo, which the Geely Group acquired in 2010. The group says it spends 10 percent of its revenue on research and development.
"That figure is expected to grow," Hou says. "We need to develop our research and development to compete internationally."
Pointing at a new SUV model, Hou says: "I am confident it will take no more than 10 years for the Chinese car industry to catch up with and even surpass their foreign counterparts in both sales and brand recognition. There is no doubt Geely will be one of them."
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Experts support LKK's fight against counterfeits (2015-02-12,China Daily)
The Dragon Design Foundation joined LKK, a Beijing-headquartered creative design company, to hold a seminar on the challenges facing China¡¯s creative design industry in Beijing on Feb 10.
The seminar, which took place at the Copyright Protection Center of China, focused on LKK¡¯s fancy product ¡ª the 55¡ã Cup, an innovative cup that can cool down boiling water to a moderate temperature through its patented physical method
The cup, designed by Beijing 55¡ãTechnology Co, a subsidiary of LKK, gained astonishing popularity since it entered the market in Oct, 2014.
However, what came with such popularity was a large number of counterfeits.
Some counterfeiters copied LKK¡¯s 55¡ãCup design look, package and even the trademark, but they used cheap material, which caused much criticism from the public who bought into it and hurt LKK¡¯s brand image and interests severely.
As the founder of LKK, Jia Wei expressed his helplessness in cracking down so many counterfeiters and all kinds of rumors that damage his design team¡¯s brainchild they created with painstaking efforts.
He called for public respect for the intellectual property and hoped that people could realize the value of innovation and be willing to pay for the products with innovative and original designs.
LKK would take into account customer suggestions and try to satisfy their needs when it makes more innovative cups in the future, he added.
Gu Huanyu, editor-in-chief of China Top Brands, a magazine owned by Xinhua News Agency, suggested that the fancy products should not only have their brand story and make online promotion, but also draft strategies for brand protection in advance.
Sun Jie, the head of the law department of China¡¯s Copyright Protection Center, echoed Gu¡¯s statement and emphasized the importance of copyright protection and argued for the enterprises¡¯ rights.
Ma Dongxiao, a partner at Zhonglun Law Firm, urged the public to raise awareness of copyright protection for the enterprises with creation and innovation, especially under the current complex circumstances of the Internet.
Lin Xiaoyue, an intellectual property expert, spoke of the challenges for intellectual property protection as Chinese companies have become more aware of their rights for their designs and creations.
Zhang Qi, the director general of the Dragon Design Foundation, called for a better environment for the nation¡¯s creative designs industry.
As China¡¯s first foundation in design sector, the Dragon Design Foundation devotes itself to helping develop enterprises with professional services.
Also present at the seminar were officials, experts, scholars and professionals in the legal field, who were concerned about the development of Chinese design industries and the protection of the intellectual property. They also signed up to a campaign about innovative creation titled "I support original Chinese designs".
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'Qualcomm fine' shadow looms over TPP talks (2015-02-12,China Daily)
Qualcomm Inc's decision to pay a record fine of $975 million for antitrust violations in China is likely to increase trade tensions and hamper negotiations on a key trade pact in the Asia-Pacific region, experts said on Tuesday.
On Monday the United States-based chip maker agreed to pay the largest corporate fine ever in China for anti-competitive practices, ending a 14-month investigation against it by the National Development and Reform Commission.
The "unfair" and "excessively high" royalties Qualcomm collected from Chinese smartphone makers were the key factors that led to the historic fine, the NDRC said.
Talian Chi, professor and Carl A Scupin Faculty Fellow at the University of Kansas School Of Business, said: "The settlement is likely to add to the trade tension between China and the US and may also complicate the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. One of the issues that has bogged down the TPP negotiations is the objection by some developing countries to the US insistence on stringent rules for the protection of patents. I suspect that the US negotiators are trying to prevent any potential TPP partners from using antitrust rules in their future bargaining with US multinationals."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free-trade deal among the US, Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (not including China) that has been under discussion.
However, Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think tank in Washington, said the Qualcomm case could actually prove beneficial to the TPP.
"If anything this and other similar actions by the Chinese government will increase support (for TPP) because it will be seen as a way to better exert pressure on China to curtail these kinds of practices that discriminate against foreign firms. As far as US-China bilateral relations are concerned, this action will only heighten the concerns held by the US government over Chinese economic policies," he said.
Chi said: "Any firm possessing proprietary technology has monopoly power, but such monopoly power is often protected by the government under the patent system."
"Given the monopoly status of Qualcomm over its technology, the negotiation of the licensing fees is inevitably subject to its bargaining power relative to that of its Chinese licensees. The governments of some developing countries do try to boost the bargaining power of their domestic firms by limiting the maximum royalty rate in licensing contracts via domestic legislation. This type of government policy is unlikely to work for a small country, but China is the largest cell phone market in the world and is thus better able to get concessions from foreign firms."
Qualcomm will also offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G Chinese patents separately from licenses of its other patents, and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process.
Qualcomm said it plans to continue to grow its investments and expand collaborations in China, including with China's mobile operators, handset and device suppliers, and within the Chinese semiconductor sector.
Chi said the Chinese government may be trying to alter the balance of bargaining power between Qualcomm and its Chinese licensees.
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Zhongguancun holds conference on American Patent Law (2015-02-12,China Daily)
American patent system and issues pertaining to Patent Cooperation Treaty were among the main topics discussed in a three-day conference held in Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing recently.
A group of experts, led by Long Xiang, president of Metis and a professional solicitor on American patent law, were invited to give the main lecture with a particular focus on the patent litigation, patent examination and patent agent system in the US; America Invents Act; and how to apply for Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Co-organized by China International Technology Transfer Center and Metis IP LLC, an Intellectual Property management and patent search firm, the event aimed at analyzing the American patent law and enhancing Chinese enterprises' awareness on overseas patent protection.
A total of 31 enterprises from Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, along with Haidian Intellectual Property bureau, Jiangsu Intellectual Property research center and Zhongguancun Development Group, participated in the conference.
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Hi-tech enterprises promote LNA's innovation development (2015-02-12,China Daily)
Vice directors of the Liangjiang government administration, Hao Ming and Li Chengyun, have investigated the innovative development progress of hi-tech enterprises in Liangjiang's Shuitu Hi-tech Industrial Park on Feb 11.
Hao and Li visited local hi-tech enterprises in the park, including the Chongqing Daxin Pharmaceutical Corporation and Chongqing Huashu Robot Enterprise. A symposium was held was held to better understand the innovation development of the local hi-tech enterprises in the area.
The Chongqing Daxin Pharmaceutical Corporation's first stage project occupies a total area of 60 hectares, with an annual output value of 600 million yuan ($95.94 million). It has developed innovation in different areas; including microbe fermentation technology, green organic synthesis technology and production facilities. In addition, the company has obtained patents in different fields.
In the recent years, Chongqing's pharmaceutical industry has been developing rapidly. Three pharmaceutical industry development clusters have been constructed in Chongqing, including one in the Liangjiang New Area. According to statistics from Liangjiang New Area, the pharmaceutical production area in Liajing is expected to reach 7.3-square-kilometers.
According the 2015 annual plan of the Liangjiang New Area, about 100 pharmaceutical projects are expected to enter the area and about 1,000 innovative talent will be hired.
Hao and Li visited the Science and Technology Support Center in the Shuitu Industrial Park. They also directed and guided the work from four aspects: innovation reform, capital turnover, market analysis and transportation.
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Alibaba head meets with regulators (2015-02-11,China Daily)
The head of China's quality watchdog met with Alibaba chairman Jack Ma on Monday as the e-commerce giant held its second meeting with regulatory authorities to discuss the crackdown on fake and shoddy products.
Zhi Shuping, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said in the meeting that e-commerce platforms must take measures to tackle problems of counterfeit products and ensure the quality of products they sell, according to a statement released by the quality watchdog on Tuesday.
Ma met Zhang Mao, minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, on Jan 30 after the market regulator blasted the company's failure to exert effective supervision on Taobao.com, China's largest consumer-to-consumer platform, which is owned by Alibaba.
"Product quality is an essential part of a healthy e-commerce industry. Counterfeit products sold online will not only harm the interests of consumers, but also damage the reputation of the country," Zhi said.
"As the world's leading e-commerce company, Alibaba should attach more importance to the quality of products ... and undertake more social responsibility and protect the interests of consumers," he said.
He added that the quality watchdog has established a plan for supervision of e-commerce activities that involves purchasing products through online platforms and tracing them to the factories if the products are counterfeit.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine is in charge of product quality during the production process, while the State Administration for Industry and Commerce is in charge of market activities and the quality of commodities during distribution.
Ma said Alibaba has made efforts to combat counterfeit products, but there are still deficiencies and room for further improvement. The company will work closely with regulatory authorities to crack down on fake products, he added.
Ma made a similar promise to work with government departments and devote more efforts to weed out fake goods during the meeting with Zhang last month.
That meeting also put an end to a highly unusual episode in which Taobao staff publicly clashed with the market regulator.
The row started when the commerce authority released a report on its website on Jan 23, blaming unnamed online shopping platforms for failing to supervise products and services that infringed upon trademarks, as well as for substandard or fake products.
However, it escalated after Taobao released an open letter on its micro blog accusing Liu Hongliang, who is in charge of regulating online trade at the administration, of "using a wrong method and reaching a conclusion that is not objective."
The regulator responded by releasing a report directly condemning Taobao for failing to clean up what it called illegal business deals on the e-commerce titan's platforms.
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Joint 5G standards to be set (2015-02-11,China Daily)
Taiwan's economic authority approved the establishment of a communication industry standards association in Taipei on Feb 3. The association will enhance the island's industrial competitiveness and cooperate with the Chinese mainland to set standards for fifth-generation mobile networks, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Taiwan and the mainland have reached a consensus in jointly formulating 5G standards. The two sides have already carried out technological cooperation and how to jointly standardize the achievements will become a new highlight in the future," Chou Sheng-lin, secretarygeneral of the association, said at the opening ceremony.
Chou told the Chinatimes.com the initial framework of 5G standards would be released in 2017. If Taiwan can grasp this opportunity, it can map out the layout of key patents in advance, he said.
Jonathan Tsang, vice-chairman of Taiwan-headquartered computer manufacturer Asus, who was appointed as head of the association, echoed Chou's opinion.
Tsang said in the past overseas industrial giants usually held the rights to formulate technological standards and had most of the related intellectual property rights, so manufacturers in Taiwan had to pay a large sum of money for production authorization, which weakened their competitiveness.
Given that the information and communications technology industry is transforming and the era of the Internet of Things is approaching, the establishment of industry standards and cost-effective patent portfolio are priorities, he added.
The industry association has nearly 50 well-known local companies as its members, including Asus, Acer, MediaTek, Honghai and ChungHwa Telecom. The number is expected to reach 100 by the end of June.
The association will issue technical white papers based on industrial demands, generate research reports in terms of feasibility and development trends and propose related industry standards, CTIMES magazine reported.
Chou told the magazine that several standards would be released soon, including those related to intelligent security monitoring, open network video interfacing and audio system open application programming interfaces. The association will promote the implementation of the standards as quickly as possible, he said.
Chou said the association hopes to establish partnerships with international and regional standard-setting organizations, such as 3GPP, or the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, and OneM2M.
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Merger helps nuclear power grow globally (2015-02-11,China Daily)
The approved merger of China's two industrial giants in the nuclear power field will strengthen the country's industrial competitiveness when going abroad, experts said.
Jiang Kejun, a researcher from the energy research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, told China Intellectual Property News that the merger between State Nuclear Power Technology Corp and China Power Investment Corp "could enhance the capability in intellectual property innovation and utilization, and add a more competitive edge in international markets".
"As one of the biggest nuclear power companies in China, we have strong research and innovation capabilities, as well as the world's most advanced home-made facility units and related technologies," said Fan Jihong, research department director of State Nuclear Power.
He said going abroad was necessary for nuclear power companies but the process needs to be supported by strong IP strength. He added that the merger laid solid foundations for them to compete internationally.
"The merger of the two companies results in expansion in size and scale, but what is more important is to make up for each other's shortcomings," said Lu Qizhou, general manager of China Power Investment.
He said State Nuclear Power had strong innovation capabilities but was weak in developing markets, while China Power Investment has experience tapping into new markets.
Jiang said countries around the world consider nuclear power a core in developing new energies due to its safe, clean, low-carbon and efficient characteristics.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world's nuclear power generation capacity will increase at least 40 percent by 2030.
Although China has some of the world's largest nuclear power stations more efforts are needed to innovate technologies, he said.
There are more than 430 reactors in service in the world, with a combined nuclear power generation capacity of 378 million kilowatts, according to a report from China Intellectual Property News.
The United States has 104 nuclear power plants, the most in the world, while the European Union has a total of 158 plants. The two also lead the world in core technologies and the number of patents in the industry.
Russia has 31 nuclear power plans, Japan has 55 plants and India has 20.
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Firecrackers reignite perennial New Year debate (2015-02-11,Xinhua)
Firecrackers are a big noise at any Chinese celebration, but in recent years, the once propitious symbol has become a short fuse leading to a fiery argument.
The debate erupts around this time every year. Lunar New Year is for firecrackers what the Superbowl is for guacamole. The rumbling controversy erupted once again after a picture of two street sweepers went viral on the Internet. In the picture, the couple hold a poster asking people to light fewer firecrackers and allow them to go home early to their own celebrations this year.
Street sweepers have to work long, extra hours at New Year, which falls on Feb. 19 this year, clearing up literally tonnes of detritus from millions of the pesky little explosives. People traditionally lit firecrackers to "scare away evil spirits" and, though next to no-one believes this superstitious stuff anymore, old habits, especially such fun old habits, die hard.
The Chinese have a soft spot for poor people working hard and some netizens have proposed a complete moratorium on firecrackers to alleviate pressure on the workers and create a better environment. Scores of diehard traditionalists, it turns out, have no intention whatsoever of guarding their powder.
A resident of Xi'an, home to the terracotta army and some of the worst pollution in the country, described the choking air and noise induced by firecrackers as "..too much of a nuisance. And it's really hard to clean up all the mess the pointless displays leave behind."
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, firecrackers during last year's Lantern Festival, the end of Spring Festival, pushed PM 2.5 readings well past healthy levels in Beijing, Tianjin, Xi'an and their neighboring areas. In Xi'an, firework garbage was two or three times more than usual, putting huge pressure on street sweepers.
Even local governments have joined the anti-cracker campaign: Provinces like Hebei, Jiangxi, Shaanxi have restricted their use. Local governments can issues all the restrictions they like, but they are very difficult to execute in the middle of the frantic street parties that take place all across the nation.
Despite of environmental gripes and the standard set of "safety" concerns, there is no shortage of firecracker fundamentalists dedicated to preserving tradition in the face of legions of do-gooders.
"Spring Festival would not be Spring Festival without firecrackers" was a typical comment on Sina Weibo.
Experts like Rao Hui, chief environmental engineer in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, said new, less polluting firecrackers should be the way forward. "If the public uses green firecrackers that cause very little pollution and have less explosive force, the matter will soon be settled," Rao said.
Wang Xinming, 29, an oil company employee from central China's Henan Province, has been working to that very end, devising unorthodox firecrackers that are non-polluting to protect the environment and retain the festive atmosphere at the same time.
"My invention is not powered by explosives or electricity," he said. "They are more beautiful than normal firecrackers. If customers want, the firecracker can spray fountains of water mist and even fragrance."
Approved for patent in July, Wang's firecracker uses a closed cavity which can be injected with air. Users just press a button and a small hole opens, through which compressed air discharges with an explosive sound.
Although the invention has not been mass produced, Wang sees great potential in the market.
"Some celebrations have drastic impact on our environment. If Wang's invention can be mass produced, it's another way for us to fight smog," said Chen Ying of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
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China to show its IT power in CeBIT 2015 (2015-02-10,Xinhua)
Chinese officials said in Berlin on Tuesday that China would bring its strongest showcase to CeBIT, the world's leading information technology trade fair, in Germany next month and to show its power in the IT industry.
As the partner country of CeBIT 2015, China would send over 600 exhibitors to the annual trade fair in Hanover in March.
Its central pavilion would be over 2,500 square meters and consist of over 20 enterprises which include Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba and other high-tech firms which "have influence on the global market," said Diao Shijing, Director General of the IT industry department in the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in a press conference in Berlin.
Besides the big names, a wide range of small and medium sized enterprises would also present their latest products and solutions on smart cities, cloud computing, big data and other areas of digital economy in a total exhibition area of nearly 13,000 square meters.
"Chinese enterprises value European IT market," Diao said, adding that many of the exhibits are "exclusive innovations".
Data from China Information Technology Industry Federation showed that added value of Chinese IT manufacturing companies increased by 12.2 percent in 2014. The software industry also saw a yearly growth of 20.2 percent in sales.
"Chinese IT industry and its huge market has become an important power that is influencing the global IT industry," Diao said.
Citing China's over-200-billion-U.S.-dollar spending on research and development, 3.8 million researchers, rapidly increasing number of patents, Shi Mingde, Chinese Ambassador to Germany, told reporters that he was firmly convinced that China has great potential to grow from a technology demander, as it is now, to a technology provider, but needs cooperation in this process.
"Until then, China still has a long way to go, and should learn a lot from the industrialized nations such as Germany," Shi said.
His view was echoed by Karl Wendling, a deputy director general in the German Economic Ministry who is in charge of economic cooperation with Asia.
"I am confident that the partnership of China is a good chance to develop our bilateral economic development and our cooperation in this field," Wendling said, calling the cooperation a win-win situation which will create jobs in both countries.
Data from German IT industry association BITKOM showed that China has been Germany's most important delivery country for IT products by far for many years.
"CeBIT is an excellent place especially for SMEs from both countries to exchange ideas and enter into new international markets," Dieter Kempf, President of the BITKOM association, said.
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High royalties key reason behind Qualcomm fine: NDRC (2015-02-10,China Daily)
China's antitrust regulator Tuesday announced to impose a penalty of 6.08 billion yuan ($975 million) on Qualcomm Inc, the highest penalty since China's antitrust law took into effect in 2008.
Xu Kunlin, head of the anti-monopoly bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China welcomes more foreign companies to invest in China.
"Our purpose is to maintain fair competition in the industry. Some practices (of Qualcomm) have hindered creativity of other companies ... it's not beneficial to the industry and customers," Xu said on Tuesday.
The amount accounts for 8 percent of Qualcomm's 2013 revenue in China. Analysts said the fine is modest and shares of Qualcomm surged after the chipmaker announced the resolution as it dispels concerns among investors.
China accounts for roughly half of the company's revenue, which totaled $26.5 billion in the fiscal year ended in September.The Anti-Monopoly Law allows the government to fine companies up to 10 percent of their annual revenue.
The "unfair" and "excessively high" royalties Qualcomm Inc collected from Chinese smartphone makers were the key factors that led to the historical fine, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday.
"Qualcomm refused to provide patent list to its customers in China and out-of-date patents were included in the licensing package and charged," the NDRC said in a statement.
Other major breaches that violated the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law include product bundling and adding unreasonable conditions in the sale of baseband chips, the NDRC said.
Nicole Peng, research director at Canalys China, said the rectification plan will have a "relatively small" impact on Qualcomm's revenue in China.
Qualcomm will change its patent fee on two device categories- 3G and 4G devices that don't have WCDMA and CDMA, according to a company statement.
"We expect these two categories in total to account for less than 40 percent of the overall LTE shipments in 2015 and even less in the coming years," said Peng.
In addition, as both categories are mainly lower-end products, it will not have significant impact on the total revenue, she added.
ZTE Corp, one of the top smartphone makers in China, said it welcomes the resolution from NDRC.
"The resolution will have a deep impact on global communication industry and is good for China to build a business environment that sees highly in intelligence protection," the company said in a statement.
Qualcomm Incorporated, the world's largest chipmaker, announced Tuesday US time that it will pay a fine of 6.08 billion yuan ($975 million).
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Administrative Sanction Decision found that Qualcomm has violated the country's Anti-Monopoly Law.
"Qualcomm will not pursue further legal proceedings contesting the NDRC's findings," Qualcomm released in a statement.
Qualcomm said it has reached a resolution with the NDRC regarding the regulator's 14 month investigation of the chipmaker under China's Anti-Monopoly Law.
"We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China's rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm. "We appreciate the NDRC's acknowledgment of the value and importance of Qualcomm's technology and many contributions to China, and look forward to its future support of our business in China."
Qualcomm has agreed to implement a rectification plan that modifies certain aspects of its business practices in China to fully satisfy the requirements set by the NDRC. According to the company's press release, the company is disappointed with the results of the investigation but is pleased that the NDRC has approved the company's rectification plan.
Key terms of the rectification plan includes that Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents separately from licenses of its other patents and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process.
Qualcomm also said it plans to continue to grow its investments and expand collaborations in China, including with China's mobile operators, handset and device suppliers, and within the Chinese semiconductor sector.
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China imposes record anti-trust fine on Qualcomm (2015-02-10,Xinhua)
Chinese authorities have imposed a record fine of 6.09 billion yuan (994 million U.S. dollars) on mobile chip maker Qualcomm following an anti-trust probe, it was announced Tuesday.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Qualcomm was found to have abused its market dominance, charging discriminatory fees in the Chinese market when licensing mobile chip technology.
"Qualcomm's practices hampered innovation and technology development, harmed consumers' rights and interests, and violated China's anti-monopoly rules," according to an NDRC statement.
The watchdog issued a fine of 8 percent of the company's revenue in the Chinese market for 2013, totaling 6.09 billion yuan, the largest anti-trust fine in China's history.
The NDRC said it started the anti-trust probe in November 2013 and that the fine would stop the company's monopolistic practices, safeguard fair market competition and protect consumers' interests.
It said Qualcomm improperly bundled unrelated licenses with baseband chip sales, forcing Chinese customers to pay for licenses they didn't need.
San Diego-based Qualcomm said in a statement that it would honor the fine and modify its licensing practices.
"Qualcomm will not pursue further legal proceedings contesting the NDRC's findings," it added.
The company was also quoted as saying in the NDRC statement that it would continue to increase investment in China.
It cooperated with the probe and proposed a set of rectification plans, including not conditioning the sale of baseband chips on the chip customer signing a license agreement with terms that the NDRC found to be unreasonable or on the chip customer not challenging unreasonable terms in its license agreement.
The NDRC said it welcomed the company's decision about investing in China and supported the company to charge a reasonable licensing fee for its technology protected by patents.
"We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China's rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm, one of the biggest makers of mobile phone chips.
"We appreciate the NDRC's acknowledgment of the value and importance of Qualcomm's technology and many contributions to China, and look forward to its future support of our business in China," Aberle added.
China has stepped up law enforcement against monopolies in recent years and a number of foreign and domestic companies have been fined for violating the country's anti-trust law.
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Qihoo pays record price for full rights to 360 domain (2015-02-05,China Daily)
Is the domain name 360.com more valuable than sex.com? For Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd, the answer is yes.
The Chinese Internet security company appeared to have purchased domain name 360.com for $17 million, out-pricing sex.com's historic $14 million buyout.
Registry information shows the ownership of the domain name was transferred from the United Kingdom-based telecom carrier Vodafone Group to the Chinese company on Wednesday afternoon.
Qihoo was not available for comment. A source in Qihoo confirmed to China Daily that the company had indeed spent a huge fortune, big enough to purchase an array of popular domains such as porn.com, casino.com and sex.com. Addresses related to pornography and gambling sites are usually the ones with the highest value.
It remains unclear how Qihoo plans to use the domain name. Visitors to the 360.com domain are automatically directed to haosou.com, a Chinese-language search site owned by Qihoo.
The address is most likely to be the gateway for all the company's business units.
Zhou Hongyi, co-founder of Qihoo, is planning a strategic shift for the Internet company with smartphones and other household appliances on his "to do" list.
Zhou is building a smartphone company in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. He said earlier Qihoo's presence in the Internet sector will help the new company gain market share in the highly competitive smartphone market.
Tian Zheng, a researcher at Analysys International, said security features are likely to be the selling points for Qihoo-branded phones. "Qihoo treats patent issues very seriously, and it is good for it to build its own handsets," said Tian.
Qihoo is not the first Chinese tech company willing to spend a fortune on an easy-to-remember domain name.
In early 2014, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp launched a new domain name, mi.com, to replace the less-international xiaomi.com when it announced its plans to tap overseas markets for growth. The address cost the smartphone maker about $3.5 million.
In 2013, Global Broadcasting Media Group spent roughly 72 million yuan ($11.5 million) to acquire news portal China.com's assets including the domain, making the deal the most expensive one ever.
It is difficult to track domain purchases because many high-value deals are not made public.
The most famous domain sale worldwide, however, happened in 2010 when the United States-based privately held technology group Clover Holdings purchased pornography site sex.com from domain specialist Escom LLC for a then record-high price of $14 million. The site is currently active.
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Report reveals auto world's innovation trends (2015-02-04,China Daily)
Geely is leading Chinese automakers in terms of innovative capacity, according to a report unveiled in late January by the intellectual property and science business of information provider Thomson Reuters.
The report examined recent patent trends in the automotive field, including companies involved in innovation and segments that have grown the fastest, based on data during the past five years.
Toyota had more than 7,000 patent assignments during the five-year period and is the auto world's top innovator from a patent perspective, according to the report. Toyota was one of five Japanese companies ranked in the top 10, the most of any country. The others were Honda, Denso, Seiko Epson and Mitsubishi.
In contrast, the United States had only one representative in the top 10, General Motors, which was seventh on the list with less than 3,000 patents, according to the report.
The report ranked Chinese carmaker Geely 15th, with about 1,500 patents, not including those belonging to Volvo, which the company acquired in 2010. Geely's ranking was ahead of several foreign firms such as Ford, Audi, BMW and Renault.
The report noted that Toyota was a "perennial leader" in automotive innovation, while South Korea's Hyundai "appears to be an up-and-coming organization". The report also said that from 2011 Hyundai "increased its rate of patent filing dramatically and could soon end up with more patent publications than any other automotive company".
The report looked into innovation activities in five broad categories of the automotive industry£propulsion, navigation, handling, safety and entertainment. Within each category, researchers analyzed the total number of unique inventions issued in published patent applications and granted patents between 2009 and July 2014.
Findings showed that propulsion attracted more patents than any other technology area. Propulsion patents jumped from less than 2,000 to nearly 12,000 during the five-year period.
"The clock is quickly ticking towards Model Year 2025, where US automakers' fleets will be required by law to boast an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon, and the industry is working diligently to comply," said Bob Stembridge, an IP analyst at Thomson Reuters.
"The 2012 Corporate Average Fuel Economy Mandate seems to have set the agenda for the next decade of car manufacturing, and the huge spike in propulsion patents reflect this prevailing trend," he said.
Patents in the safety and security category also increased from less than 1,000 in 2009 to about 2,500 in 2013, said the report.
Patent activity in the other three categories stayed flat or dipped, the report showed.
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Intelligent portal of China's biggest display technology group (2015-01-30,China Daily)
The BOE Technology Group, a Chinese display technology giant, recently changed its official website into an intelligent business site for an online store, various services, and enterprise information in a consumer oriented way to provide a convenient shopping experience.
Immediately after opening the business site, the group, located in Beijing's Economic Technological Development Area, or E-town, used the business portal to market a new display terminal it had developed -- the BOE¡¤Alta. The terminal uses Advanced Super Dimension Switch (ADSDS) technology for a 55-inch 4K Ultra HD screen, without frames. For material, it uses almasilium -- a compound of aluminum, magnesium and silica, used in aerospace technology.
The group has contributed a lot to the town, through innovations, over the past several years and has a lot of achievements to show for its efforts. Last year, it applied for more than 5,000 patents already holds 26,000 patents. It has many commercial application of its display technology and it has a major share of the market and is China's main supplier of public transportation screens. It is also developing new finance and medical products. Its 2014 annual report also shows some breakthroughs in research projects working with US or Japanese labs.
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Xinjiang Oilfield Company'spatents win International Invention Award (2015-01-29,China Daily)
Five patents by Xinjiang Oilfield Company won five medals including two gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal at the International Invention Award at the eighth International Exhibition of Inventions, Karamay Daily reported.
Xinjiang Oilfield Company owns the independent intelligent property right of these five patents. At present, these five patents have been applied to oil field production.
The gold medal winning invention of "aclinic oil well rod string" has successfully solved the problem of the aclinic oil well¡¯s oblique pumping rod string breaking. To date, the invention has been successfully applied to different domestic and international oil fields including the Karamay oilfield and Nanyang oilfield. The invention has promoted the production of shallow heavy oil.
Another gold medal winning invention is the multiple compound balance beam pumping unit that effectively improves the balance of the beam pumping unit. Currently, 4,200 of such beam pumping units have been installed in the Xinjiang oilfield, and some models have been successfully exported abroad.
One of the silver medal winners is a kind of double tube thermal recovery wellhead that has provided effective equipment for SADG technology. Another silver medal winner is the dry oilfield steam-injection boiler and dry steam generating method. The bronze medal winner is an umbrella nozzle of hydraulic sand jet perforation that is one of the core supporting tools of the hydraulic jet fracturing process.
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China ranks among Bloomberg's top 50 most innovative countries (2015-01-28,People's Daily)
Bloomberg recently released the rankings for the top 50 most innovative countries in the world. China occupied the 22nd position in the overall ranking, and the second and third positions in high-tech companies and patents rankings.
Bloomberg Rankings evaluated more than 200 countries and sovereign regions based on their overall ability to innovate. Six equally weighted metrics were considered: Research and Development (R&D), manufacturing, high-tech companies, post-secondary education, research personnel, and patents.
South Korea was named the most innovative country in the world, followed by Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and the U.S. Hong Kong placed 34th in the ranking.
The top five countries in the high-tech companies ranking are the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Canada. China's Tencent ranked second with market capitalization of 147 billion US dollars.
In the patents ranking, South Korea came first due to the huge contribution of Samsung, followed by Japan and China.
The report pointed out that the evaluation left out one important but hard-to-quantify influence: government regulation, which can either accelerate or impede the adoption of new ideas.
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Register trademarks abroad in advance, companies advised (2015-01-28,China Daily)
Industry insiders suggested at a seminar on Jan 22 that Chinese companies register their trademarks abroad in advance and make better use of international protocols to build strong brands overseas.
"You need to register your trademarks in the jurisdictions where you plan to be, even if you do not plan to use them, prior to expanding into those markets," J. Scott Evans, president of the International Trademark Association, said at a press conference ahead of the seminar the association hosted in Beijing.
He suggested Chinese companies "have a long-range plan" for overseas trademark protection and "register in any bordered countries" around their manufacturing sites.
To register trademarks abroad as early as possible is a lesson some Chinese trademark owners learned from their experience with bad-faith registrations overseas.
Karen Law, a senior legal counsel at Alibaba Group, said the group once found two African companies using Alibaba and AliExpress, two brands of the company, to offer logistics and e-commerce services, without authorization.
"To be frank, until then I never thought I would register our trademarks in some small countries in Africa," Law told the seminar.
She added it is very common for a Chinese company to find its trademark already registered by someone else in an overseas market where it plans to expand. She suggested Chinese companies work out a global trademark plan in advance.
Nie Xudong, board director of Jiangsu Hengshun Vinegar Co, said his company should have set up a legal department 20 years ago to register trademarks overseas as early as possible.
Zhenjiang Vinegar Association, of which Nie's company is a member, learned in June 2010 that the Korean Intellectual Property Office had accepted a South Korean application to register Zhenjiang Vinegar's Chinese and English trademarks.
Nie said Zhenjiang Vinegar was "registered at China's national trademark office as a collective mark in 2005" and thus the Zhenjiang-based association filed an objection to the KIPO after it learned of the situation.
"With the help of trademark experts and government agencies, the association's objection finally won support from the KIPO and the previous application was rejected," Nie told the seminar.
Lyu Guoliang, deputy director of the World Intellectual Property Organization's China office, said the Madrid system for the international registration of trademarks is cost-effective for Chinese companies to protect their rights in overseas markets.
Lyu said as China is a member of the system, one can use the system if he or she is a Chinese national or domiciled in the country or has a real and effective establishment here.
The system, which is governed by two treaties, states on its website that it aims to facilitate protection of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions.
"Using the Madrid system for global trademark protection is much easier than employing agents in every country," Law from Alibaba said.
Participants in the seminar also said international trademark organizations including the International Trademark Association could help Chinese companies protect their brands abroad.
Yun Xuan, from Quality Brands Protection Committee of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment, said that organizations could provide trademark owners with first-hand information from experienced professionals and Chinese companies will have a stronger impact globally if they take an active role in such associations.
Law said Alibaba has had much help from the International Trademark Association as it updates related laws and regulations in many jurisdictions on its website and informs its members of the changes.
The association, headquartered in New York, has more than 6,500 member organizations including brand owners, law firms and nonprofit organizations from 190 countries and regions.
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Xiaomi answers the call for smartphone evolution (2015-01-26,China Daily)
On most iPhones sold around the world, there is a thin line of production information embossed on the lower back that reads: "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China."
China, the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, is striving to contribute more in the design part instead of being bogged down by tedious outsourcing deals and knockoff businesses known for narrow profit margins and intense labor conditions.
Xiaomi Corp, a four-year-old startup headquartered in Beijing, is eagerly expecting to shake off the title as "the world's best iPhone copycat" and build its own legend in design and innovation.
After the company announced staggering sales of 61 million handset units for 2014 earlier this month, the viewpoint that Xiaomi stole Apple Inc's China market share by making similar-looking but considerably cheaper devices emerged again.
But according to Lei Jun, co-founder and CEO of Xiaomi, the company's success was based on in-house innovation and a unique relationship with its customers.
"We have to consistently focus on product innovation, emphasize making friends with our users, and strive to produce high-quality, high-performance devices which ensure great user experience," Lei says in a year-opening letter to his employees.
At one point he defended the research and development team, saying Xiaomi ¡ª like Apple ¡ª is also a victim of copyright violations.
"Currently, the level of research and imitation of Xiaomi's model by industry peers is as detailed as studying pixels in a picture," Lei says.
At Xiaomi's development center in the northern suburb of Beijing, 1,800 developers, many aged around 30, are busy updating the MIUI, an intricately tailored Android operating system for Xiaomi devices.
Eric Chen, who is starting his second year at Xiaomi as a software engineer, says working on a smartphone that is one of the hottest topics in the industry excites him.
"It makes no difference for me to work for a local company or a foreign one. The salary is okay here," says Chen, who used to work for a top-tier overseas smartphone brand.
"As long as the company is passionate about new ideas, it is a good place to work for an engineer," he says.
Chen, 28, recently moved to a rented apartment near the company to avoid heavy morning traffic but it still takes him about half an hour on the bus to the office.
"I can take the inconveniences. I like working at a startup that's compared to Apple."
The Xiaomi devices, especially a fourth-generation flagship handset, do share a number of common design elements with the iPhone 5S. Most remarkably the stainless steel bezel and the position of volume buttons on the side.
But it was clear Xiaomi intends to be different to the iPhone series both inside and out.
Similar to other hardware makers, Xiaomi reached out to global supply chain providers for higher performance-to-cost ratio cameras, batteries, touch screens and even screws.
When Xiaomi was making the device in early 2014, the developers worked with supply chain providers for more than 18 months to make a touch screen with a greater color range than the iPhones. It also tried more than 100 back-case designs in different materials including bamboo, marble and ceramics.
"We have to outperform Apple in some areas. It showcases the rising power of Chinese innovation and creativity," Lei says.
The biggest innovation breakthrough came from the software and user experience.
The MIUI can automatically block scam calls while putting through calls from delivery services using a constantly updated phone number database. Xiaomi is also building a number of deeply localized services in China such as free wireless Internet connections in at least 50,000 restaurants or train stations.
Tian Zheng, a senior analyst at research firm Analysys International, says Xiaomi's ambitious attempt to build a wider ecosystem in the online media, smart home and other markets using the smartphone advantage, is what makes the company stand out in the sector.
Analysts said Xiaomi is poised to outpace Samsung Electronics Co to become the top smartphone maker in China by shipments. According to Tian, the company already achieved this at the end of 2014.
Xiaomi launches a flagship device every six months, but the development unit works at a much shorter circle: When Lei unveiled the fourth-generation device in July, the design of the fifth, launched on Jan 15, was already underway.
Other local vendors are also making bold moves to boost innovation. Different from Xiaomi which started from scratch, they focused on assets accumulated years ago.
ZTE Corp, which is already a 25-year-old telecom equipment giant, thinks voice-control is the future of smartphones.
Last year, the Shenzhen, Guangdong-based company joined hands with search engine Baidu Inc and navigation leader AutoNavi to push Chinese-language recognition technology and used it in the company's latest handsets.
Shen Zhenge, vice-president of ZTE, says innovations in the mobility sector is the key to the next multi-billion-dollar market.
"We are building a lab developing next-generation technology that underlines features such as mobility, environmental friendliness and sustainability," Shen says.
The lab will provide technical support to various industries including mobile communication, wireless charging and smart homes, he says.
Although the company did not disclose the R&D budgets of the lab, Shen says ZTE spends around 10 percent of its annual revenue in product development.
It now hosts 26,000 developers in 18 innovation centers around the world. Most are doing telecom-related developments such as the fifth-generation technology.
Acquisition is another strategy for Chinese smartphone players to quickly lift innovation capability.
The latest buyout was made by appliance maker TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. It announced this month it would purchase California-based smartphone maker Palm Inc from
Hewlett-Packard Co for an undisclosed amount.
Wang Jingwen, an analyst from consultancy Canalys China, says using the development force of Palm will help TCL open the developed markets in the United States.
Motorola Mobility LLC, who purchased by Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd a year ago, also announced global expansion plans taking advantage of its R&D team.
"Lenovo has access to a large patent portfolio, which will be very useful for vendors' overseas expansion," Wang says.
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Putting their best feet forward (2015-01-26,China Daily)
Lantang-Bobu started as two separate shoe companies, selling footwear to Shanghai's well-heeled. Today they are one of the city's best known shoe companies. Wang Ying looks back at the history of the brand.
Lantang-Bobu is a shoe company that began as two different labels, each with a history tracing back to the 1940s. Lantang specialized in woman's shoes, and Bobu was an expert in men's footwear.
In 1947, shoemaker apprentices Zhang Lyu'an and Sun Changsong rented a small counter on Nanjing Road to sell women's shoes.
The counter initially had 36 pairs of shoes and quickly attracted many customers, thanks to the high quality of shoes and the efficient management of Zhang. Their success encouraged them, and they teamed up with another two apprentices to open a second shop on the same road.
Business flourished, and the two counters sold between 60 and 70 pairs of shoes every day.
Most of the customers were high-class ladies and foreigners, who only cared about the quality of the shoes and ignored the price tag. The four men made a huge profit.
In 1948, their lease ended and the first counter was relocated to No 1195 West Nanjing Road.
They put all their earnings 135 taels of gold, into buying the new shop. They spared no expense in outfitting the new outlet, the woolen carpet on the floor alone was worth 16 taels of gold.
They named the store Lantang because its pronunciation is similar to La Donna, the store where they leased their first counter and started their shoe business.
The leather shoe store officially opened on November 25, 1948, and its workshop was located in Yangjing in the east side of the Huangpu River.
Based on foreign shoemakers' samples, with some adjustments, Lantang specialized in making shoes for Chinese women. Its shoes won great popularity among its high-end customers, including movie stars, social celebrities and wives of party leaders.
But the unstable economic and social environment finally drove the store to the brink of bankruptcy, and the shop owner had to sell it after 1949.
The brand was revived when it moved to No 1169 West Nanjing Road in 1957. Its shoes were exported to more than 10 countires and regions including the UK, the US, Russia, Hong Kong and Macao.
Originally named Diwujie (Fifth Avenue), the Bobu Leather Shoes Store was founded by Huang Qilin, the second son of lingerie entrepreneur Huang Hongjun.
Huang Qilin decided to enter the leather shoe business after seeing many of his friends showing off their imported leather shoes. Huang decided to create a Chinese brand in this unfamiliar business.
Huang called his shoe brand Diwujie because he heard that Fifth Avenue in New York is a place where all the best shoes in the world are available.
In 1945, the Chinese Diwujie Shoe Store opened at No 751 Nanjing Road, with the workshop on Kangding Road of Jing'an district.
Huang decided to label Diwujie's shoes Bobu, which means high quality.
From the very beginning, Diwujie only provided tailor-made service to ensure all the shoes were totally unique. The store's special business mode and its high prices meant the shoes were only affordable for foreigners, businessmen, and social celebrities.
Diwujie strived to keep its doors open even during the worsening economy of the late 1940s, and was renamed Bobu in 1954.
Langtang and Bobu started to lose their popularity with the rise of big-name foreign brands and homegrown trademarks.
In 1987, the two brands merged into Lantang-Bobu. Apart from continuously focusing on their own specialties, the new joint venture helped the two brands develop new products and be more competitive.
At their peak, the two brands sold their shoes to all the provinces in China except the Tibet autonomous region and Taiwan. Customers had to buy the shoes with a special certificate or wait in a long line. Their combined annual revenue once exceeded 90 million yuan.
Regaining their former glory became the main aim of the company. According to Wang Gushan, vice-general manager with the Shanghai Lantang-Bobu Leather Shoes Co Ltd, Lantang-Bobu hopes to strike a balance between stylish and comfortable in its shoes.
Lantang-Bobu operates four stores and more than 30 specialty counters across Shanghai, its products are also available in Suzhou and Changzhou of Jiangsu province, and Changsha of Hunan province.
In August 2009, Lantang-Bobu launched a tailor-made high-end leather shoes service, harking back to its classic shoemaking tradition by utilizing the latest 3D laser scanning technology.
"We want to offer something our competitors do not, and tailor-made shoes used to be our specialty," says Wang.
In two to three seconds, the shoemaker can get accurate information about a customer's feet. With advanced 3D technology, they can make a pair of shoes that fit the customer¡¯s requirements.
The tailor-made leather shoes are about 1,000 yuan more expensive than the regular shoes sold by the brand.
"We make shoes for men and women, but we are still developing new markets, such as wedding shoes," says Wang.
In September 2014, Lantang-Bobu officially launched a special counter in its store for wedding shoes.
"We came across this idea after receiving quite a few enquiries from our customers who found it very difficult to buy tailor-made wedding shoes," Wang says.
By setting up a special design team for the shoes, the wedding shoes made by Lantang-Bobu are created to ensure comfort, style and durability.
"There are many stories about a pair of wedding shoes bought online breaking during a ceremony, and that is one thing our products will definitely not do," says Wang.
Lantang-Bobu's base customers are middle aged to older people, and the brand is continuously adding new products and services to attract younger generations. For the last six years, the company's sales revenues have risen steadily at an annual growth rate of 10 percent.
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Chinese innovation draws international attention at the WEF (2015-01-25,Xinhua)
Many renowned experts spoke highly of Chinese innovation, technology, research and creativity at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) here, citing China's rapid achievements in these areas.
Pedro Sander, an associate professor from University of Hong Kong, stressed the positive changes in China's research environment, including improved working conditions and greater incentives for researchers to travel to China and work at universities.
"Some well-known graphics went back to China to work even in research labs like Microsoft or in universities where they can build up their own groups and work on any projects they want. So it's very open and there are a lot of collaborations with outside as well," said Sander.
He said: "there is a big interest to learn about technology, and the government is trying to get people back, their goal is to establish big research groups."
Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Switzerland said that every nation should have the capacity for innovation in order to develop and to be competitive in the world of information and technology.
"I think this is logical and normal, and we've seen it certainly in China," Jennings said, "what I think is that it's important that how you adjust your labor market, how you keep Chinese workers with the skills that they can also be productive and to help in the innovation process."
On labor market, Jennings said that "on the supply side of the labor market, the development of skills, the improvement of skills, if you take someone from the land into a factory doing repetitive work, then perhaps the level of training required is not as demanding as a worker who all of a sudden has to apply new technology, has to get involved in the world of robotics, getting involved in all the side of applications. It requires new investment, development and training of skills."
Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute highlighted that development of technology in China is important on a global level.
"It's in everybody's interest that China's talent, its human talent, is used for both development and science, and it is a great thing to see these developments in the private sectors, in companies like Alibaba and Huawei," he said.
Posen told Xinhua that there have been questions over the fact that, out of the pool of Chinese-produced designs, not all are world-class. Over the years, however, more and more achieve that status.
Italian entrepreneur Mario Moretti Polegato, CEO of fashion brand GEOX, provided Xinhua with examples of the Chinese dynamism and circulation of ideas.
"I was informed that the patent office in Beijing at this moment is very crowded, there are lines of hundreds of people going to deposit ideas and patent," Polegato said, adding "Chinese intelligence at economic level is also presented at creativity management level."
"We don't have to forget that many Chinese students studied abroad in Britain or the United States...We, as Europeans, think to be still the best on this field but we have to recognize that China is investing a lot on creativity and innovation," said Polegato.
Polegato explained that discovering and witnessing innovation in the past meant a trip to New York or London. Today, these same driving forces are bringing countless people to Shanghai.
China invited and attracted world-class architects. They are the brains behind incredible designs like the Beijing and Shanghai airports, and the high-rise hotels that seem to touch the sky. China is putting in place all the existing modern art in terms of construction, he said.
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BOE joins the big electronics biggies in China (2015-01-23,China Daily)
The BOE Technology Group, a semiconductor display technology leader, got a Top 10 China Consumer Electronics Brands award at a ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, on Jan 7, as part of an annual Global Top Brands celebration put on by the International Data Group.
This is the eighth time for BOE, whose HQ is in Beijing's Economic Technological Development Area, or E-town, to make the Top 10 list, and it explains the win by saying it continues to innovate, which is why it also took home a display technology innovation award, at the same ceremony.
Last year, the company moved out in front internationally with its high-resolution, high-definition display technology, as well as in such new areas as touch controls, and 3D, flexible, and see-through displays. It still ranks first internationally in market share, with its liquid crystal display for smartphones and pads. During that time, it overfilled at least 5,000 patent applications, and held 26,000 patents.
At the ceremony, Zhang Yu, its vice-president, expressed his appreciation to his industry peers and explained that the mobile Internet and a new information technology are causing a revolution in the display business and that the integration of screens, cloud, and the Internet of Things will change the industry's business mode quickly, and, that BOE is ready to face the new age.
Top 10 Chinese Consumer Electronics Brands selection is intended to encourage intelligent, innovative improvements in Chinese consumer electronics enterprises. Others joining the list this year include Haier, Hisense, Changhong, TCL, Lenovo, and Huawei.
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China sets up anti-counterfeiting alliance (2015-01-23,Xinhua)
A strategic alliance on infringement and counterfeiting eradication was set up in Beijing on Friday to further improve protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).
More than 100 members of the non-government China Anti-Infringement and Anti-Counterfeiting Innovation Strategic Alliance called for modernized data sharing, a social common management mechanism and a civilian monitoring system for IPR protection.
In the Internet era, IPR infringement needs a public service platform based on big data analysis and information sharing, said Hong Yunfeng, director of the alliance.
The organization is devoted to building a fair business environment and carving out a new image internationally for Chinese enterprises and products, he said.
Members of the alliance include companies like Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc., e-commerce giant Alibaba, universities and industry associations.
"With the popularity of our products, there are more and more counterfeit cellphones," said Liu Yanxia, anti-counterfeiting manager at Xiaomi Inc.
Liu said she hoped the alliance would protect the rights of companies with its resources.
Chinese authorities handled more than 110,000 cases of IPR infringement in the first three quarters of last year, according to the country's top office for nationwide operations against IPR infringement and counterfeiting.
This year will see special campaigns to crack down on IPR infringement and counterfeiting in the booming e-commerce sector as well as in rural areas where law enforcement is lax, said Chai Haitao, deputy head of the office.
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Dispute over life-like rubber statues ends (2015-01-21,China Daily)
After a nearly six months of investigation by the local intellectual property watchdog, the nation's first silicone rubber patent infringement case was settled through arbitration, Shaanxi Daily reported.
A Xi'an-based cultural and creative company has admitted infringing on two patents owned by the Xi'an Superman Sculpture Research Institute. It agreed to stop producing and selling statues it made using the technology and pay 200,000 yuan ($32,157) in compensation.
Experts from the city's IP office said the handling of the dispute would serve as a precedent for authorities in other provinces to improve IP protection in the field.
Established in 2001, the sculpture research institute was the first company in China to study and make silicone rubber statues and has become the country's largest manufacturer.
It is also the China's largest production center for life-like robotic statues.
The institute now owns nine patents and has provided more than 4,000 statues and emulation robots to more than 300 Chinese and overseas museums, memorial halls and science and technology museums.
Its products include statues of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Russian President Vladimir Putin, late South African leader Nelson Mandela and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
It also made a robot based on famous Chinese TV anchor Li Yong, which performed with the real man together at a gala in 2011.
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SIPO lobbying for adoption of revised Patent Law (2015-01-21,China Daily)
As the draft of the revised Patent Law has been sent to the State Council for approval, the State Intellectual Property Office is lobbying for the legislation to be approved this year, said SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu.
The amended draft addresses thorny issues that have long concerned industry insiders such as difficulties in collecting evidence, low compensation awards and the high cost of maintaining rights, Shen said at an annual conference in Beijing last week for heads of local IP offices from across the country.
The revision gives more power to administrative enforcement officials, enabling them to use various means to collect evidence in infringement investigations.
In contrast to the current mediation practice in a patent dispute, they are also empowered to decide on compensation for damages, according to the amendments.
The draft also stipulates that administrative decisions about the validity of a patent should take effect when it is issued rather than pending court verdicts.
Additions to the law include punitive compensation in cases of repeated or group infringements of up to three times the losses or statutory fine.
The Patent Law was amended in 1992, 2000 and 2008 after it came to effect in 1985.
The previous amendments all showed the attitude of policymakers and legislators towards enhanced protection, said Feng Xiaoqing, vice-chairman of the China Intellectual Property Law Association.
"The law has a logic relationship in the legal system itself," Feng said. "Its amendments are a huge project that require comprehensive consideration of a range of legal documents, related regulations and rules, and judicial interpretations."
Given the internalization of IP laws, legislators also need to factor in the latest legislation in advanced countries and progress in the international patent system, he said.
The fourth amendment to the law now under discussion, which SIPO began to draft in 2012, "basically reflects such a way of thinking", he added.
Administrative enforcement complementary to judicial protection is a feature in China's IP protection, he noted.
The expansion of administrative power will provide rights owners with diverse options for maintaining their interests, Jiang Zhipei, former chief IP judge at the Supreme Court, wrote in an online article.
Yet opponents expressed concern over expansion of administrative power in the latest revision and want to increase court efficiency as a fundamental solution.
Invention patent applications rose 12.5 percent to 928,000, retaining China's status as the world No 1 for the fourth year in a row.
And SIPO dealt with 26,000 international applications filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2014, up 14.2 percent compared with 2013.
Of them, the PCT filings for use in the United States, Europe and Japan increased by 32.6 percent, Commissioner Shen noted at the meeting.
Considering a drop in filings in the first half of last year, partially due to the slowing growth in the economy and the change in government incentives away from filings to patents, Shen said the yearly growth is "better than expected".
A report from the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that 92 percent of global utility models and more than a half of the world's total industrial designs came from China.
Shen said that considering the enormous population of China, "the num is not big, but far less than being enough".
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Xiaomi feeling 'phabulous' about new phablet (2015-01-21,China Daily)
"Made in China" products have long drawn scrutiny, as the shanzhai (copy and imitate) approach was rampant. That is especially true in the smartphone industry, which depends on technological innovation.
But some Chinese companies have started to change all that.
Xiaomi has brought its own brand of innovation to the world stage with premium electronic products, said Wang Xiao, CEO of Innospring, a Santa Clara, California-based technology incubator.
"It is a misconception that Xiaomi doesn't have technology innovation," said Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi, who stressed that his company attaches great importance to technological innovation and patent protection.
In 2014, Xiaomi successfully applied for 2,318 tech patents. Of those, 665 were approved overseas, Lei said.
"Xiaomi indeed doesn't have enough patents right now, since it is still a startup company that only has five years' history," Lei said. "But how about 10 years later? I am sure that Xiaomi will have more than 10,000 patents around the world then."
Lei spoke at last week in Beijing after unveiling the company's 5.7-inch "phablet (phone-tablet)", the Mi Note, which also happens to weigh 5.7 ounces.
Lei took aim at Apple's big-screen product, and said Mi Note has a larger screen but smaller bezel, and is thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6. Meanwhile, the Mi Note's camera doesn't stick out, as it does on the iPhone 6, Lei said.
Apple did not return a call to its media line for comment.
Catering to young people who care about design, the Mi Note uses curved glass to give it a graceful contour, Lei said. The price starts at $375, half the cost of the iPhone 6 in China.
The innovations are major steps in mobile device-development history, Lei said.
After Lei's speech, Xiaomi again was accused of copying Apple products by foreign media.
Xiaomi didn't immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment on the allegations. However, Global Vice-President Hugo Barra said earlier to other reporters that charges that Xiaomi copied Apple were a "sweeping, sensationalist statement".
"Grasping such a lot of attention from people wasn't an accident for Xiaomi, as the company keeps updating its system versions based on users' needs," Wang said.
If there were no innovation, Xiaomi would not be as successful. The best response is customer satisfaction, Wang said.
In only five years, Xiaomi has become the world's third-largest smartphone maker, selling 61 million units in 2014, and raking in more than $12 billion, Wang said.
"It is indisputable that Xiaomi's current performance is better than Apple in its early stages," Wang said.
Xiaomi's success has bolstered the Chinese smartphone industry as it drives partners and competitors to innovate and has improved overall industry standards in China, Wang said.
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How innovations are created to cut prison terms (2015-01-20,China Daily)
Online agencies who sell patent rights of inventions pave a possible way for prisoners to commute their sentence, but the legitimacy of the practice is still vague, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday.
According to the criminal law in China, the punishment shall be commuted if an inmate has inventions or important technical innovations to his credit.
Cases of ex-officials behind bars making invention to earn commutation have recently made headlines.
Nan Yong, the former vice-chairman of the Chinese Football Association and Director of Football Management Center, General Administration of Sport of China, was granted in Dec a reduction of one year from his ten and half year terms of sentence, for patenting four inventions.
It is believed that when a prisoner makes an invention, he can entrust an intellectual property agency to apply for a patent. But some agencies transcend their business scope by offering special services.
Tailored inventions to suit prisoners
Some intellectual property agencies publicize on their website that they can provide tailored inventions and patents to fit different sentences in different prisons to help prisoners reduce prison term.
A manager of such an agency based in Northwest China¡¯s Shaanxi province, surnamed Liu, said he could develop an invention solution based on customer¡¯s gender, education background, occupation, interests and specialties to make the invention more convincible for commutation.
The price of an invention ranges from 6,800 yuan ($1,094) to 60,000 yuan according to its development period and commutation effect, Liu said.
But he also points out that "different prisons have different rules". He needs to know the specific rules on commutation in the first place.
Another similar patent agency told the Beijing Youth Daily that before getting a customized service, the customer should figure out what type of invention the prison recognizes, whether the invention should be self-developed and whether the prison has specific requirements for the content of the invention.
No standard rule or procedure
Though some provincial-level regulations were issued to stipulate the number and type of inventions that could be regarded as the measurement of commutation, specific law and regulation on the application, judgment and enforcement of the commutation at large is still a loophole.
Currently, the practice of commutation depends on the situation with different courts and prisons in different places conducting their own way.
According to an official interviewed, who works at an intermediate people¡¯s court in Tianjin, the court will not accept a commutation application from a criminal directly but the prison he serves, before making a decision on whether the prisoner could get a commutation.
A prison worker in Beijing said whether an inmate could commute his sentence by making inventions depends on the condition of a prison.
If a prison has sound equipment and advanced management idea, the inmates could apply for and get the approval and support from the prison to make inventions. Once invention is created, the prison will help the inventor to contact intellectual property agencies for patent certification.
When it comes to the invention that is not made by the inmate himself, a staff member in a prison based in North China¡¯s Tianjin municipality said it is not legal under the regulation of the local court.
"The invention should be self-made," he said, adding "pretending others' invention as yours is not acceptable."
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Alibaba invests in O2O startup Visualead (2015-01-20,China Daily)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced on Tuesday its investment into an Israeli startup specialized in quick respond code technology, a move that shows the e-commerce giant's commitment in online to offline arena.
Alibaba said it has inked a strategic cooperation deal with Visualead, an O2O and QR Code startup. The partnership will allow Alibaba to use Visualead's patents and technologies, which can largely improve the efficiency of scanning a QR code by four times.
Alibaba didn't disclose the size of the investment. But Visaulead said in the joint press release with Alibaba that the money will be used to develop the next generation O2O technology.
Visualead is working with Mashangtao, the scannable technology unit of Alibaba, to offer services that allow consumers to shop in the most convenient way. The two parties are also working to provide high-efficient user management solutions for retailers.
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Xiaomi has to tackle Huawei first before taking on Samsung (2015-01-19,China Daily)
Even with its first large-screen model for sale, Xiaomi may find it hard to outrace the world's second-largest smartphone brand Samsung, especially as the company is in a close match with Huawei, said analysts.
Huawei has more patent advantages than Xiaomi in the international market, said Xu Hao, researcher with industry consultancy Analysys International. Both the companies launched their high-end products in the past six months.
Xiaomi Corp introduced its latest model Mi Note on Thursday. The device, equipped with a 5.7-inch screen, sells at a floor price of 2,299 yuan ($370).
The live broadcast of the launch ceremony attracted 5.7 million viewers, becoming the most-viewed program in the category, according to Internet media company Tech Web quoting data from online video platforms Youku and Tudou.
Huawei launched its Mate 7 in September. The phone with 6-inch screen supports fingerprint identification, and is priced at 2,999 yuan. The industry expects the company to release an undated version Mate 8 later this year.
Jockeying for high-end users
"You can see from the Mi Note that Xiaomi is paying more attention to building its brand value," said Xu Hao, adding "other domestic brand such as Huawei and Lenovo are completing their product chain by introducing high-end devices as well."
Xu pointed out that though the latest model will help promote the company's profit margin, phones priced around 1,000 yuan will remain as its bestseller.
"Red Mi line will likely continue to contribute a large chunk of its sales volume in international market," said the Beijing-based researcher.
"It remains to be seen whether Xiaomi could retain its position as the world's third-largest smartphone vendor, as the fourth quarter data of last year is still being finalized," said Yan Zhanmeng, senior analyst at industry consultancy IDC China.
Yan expects the latest Mi Note to gain popularity among advanced regions, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, while users from emerging countries such as India and Malaysia will be more inclined to purchase its cheaper models.
"Strategically speaking, Mi Note's role is to broaden Xiaomi's customer base by filling the gap of high-end users," added Yan.
Though hopes are high for a one-on-one competition and even shift in position between Samsung and Xiaomi, analysts who spoke to chinadaily.com.cn dismissed the possibility in near future.
"Samsung has more advantages in product design and patent reserve," said Xu Hao, adding Samsung has been reflecting on its strategies and will likely improve its sales in the next move.
Samsung is not the sole competitor, and despite Xiaomi's marketing approach to take on iPhone, its real direct target may not be the two smartphone behemoths, said Yan Zhanmeng.
Nomura expects the growth rate of China's smartphone market to continue to slow in 2015 due to saturation of the smartphone adoption rate and operators' subsidy cuts, but Chinese brands will sustain 20 to 25 percent growth driven primarily by exports demand.
"Xiaomi's overseas sales will grow at a faster pace than its domestic market," said Yan.
Xu added that Xiaomi will play catch-up in its patent issue. The company has been sued in Indian courts over IP disputes and the case is due for hearing on Feb 5, according to Reuters.
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TCM inheritors spread production techniques (2015-01-19,China Daily)
Liu Ling and Zhao Guizhi, two retired experienced professionals from the Kunming Chinese Medicine Factory, were selected to be culture inheritors of TCM in Yunnan because of their rich experience and exquisite techniques to produce TCM.
The culture inheritors were selected by Yunnan's Provincial Department of Culture. Those nominated reflect excellent skills and a broad knowledge about the intangible cultural heritage of Yunnan. They have taken up the mission to carry forward what they know to more people, especially the next generation, by showing off the techniques and by training young workers.
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Foundation to protect age-old brands (2015-01-16,China Daily)
Baiyunshan sets aside $4.83 m to increase consumer awareness through promotions
One of China's leading pharmaceutical companies is pumping up to 30 million yuan ($4.83 million) into a new non-profit foundation to promote time-honored Chinese brands among young people. Guangzhou Wanglaoji Great Health Industry Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd, says the new body will promote the country's most traditional and famous brands in top universities.
Chen Mao, president of Guangzhou Wanglaoji, said the foundation, which is co-funded by China's Time-honored Brands Committee, is aimed at "enhancing young people's awareness of protecting some of the nation's most famous brands".
As part of the launch, Chen said students from major universities in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, will visit the manufacturing facilities of Wanglaoji, the famous herbal tea brand, which was founded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
"It is very important for students to know more about these brands. They can help promote them, and in turn help boost their business," Chen said.
Guangzhou Baiyunshan has several time-honored brands such as Chenliji, Pangaoshou and Hejigong.
"It is not an easy job to protect these brands, given that we are operating in a very harsh competitive environment," Chen said.
Baiyunshan finally prevailed in a long-running legal battle last year with Hong Kong-based JDB Group, another herbal beverage producer, involving the packaging and trademarks .
Guangdong High People's Court ruled that JDB must stop using similar packaging - a well-known red can - to Wanglaoji and ordered JDB to pay Wanglaoji's parent company 150 million yuan in compensation for losses incurred.
JDB claims it was authorized to use the Wanglaoji trademark until 2010 and then secured rights for an extension to use it until 2020 from a former vice-chairman of Guangzhou Baiyunshan, who was later convicted of taking bribes from JDB. It plans to appeal against the ruling.
According to Chen, Wanglaoji is planning to donate the payout amount to the new education foundation.
Figures from the China's Time-honored Brands Committee show the number of such brands has decreased from more than 16,000 in the early 1950s to just 1,128 in 2014.
"Such brands have been in difficulties in China over the years," said Zhang Jian, the committee's secretary-general.
"Enhanced awareness and knowledge among young people will help protect and revitalize them."
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China accepts more invention patent applications (2015-01-16,China Daily)
China accepted about 928,000 invention patent applications in 2014, some 103,000 more than in 2013, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) said on Thursday.
SIPO director Shen Changyu said invention patent applications accounted for 39.3 percent of all patent applications last year, compared with a 34.7 percent in 2013.
China grants patents for three major categories: invention, utility model and design.
Invention patent application growth slowed from 26.3 percent in 2013 to 12.5 percent in 2014, according to Shen.
Growth in invention patent applications is moderating, but its share in total patent applications is rising, said Shen.
The director said the SIPO will step up law enforcement in 2015 and put more efforts in intellectual property protection.
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Move over, Apple, Chinese smartphones are here (2015-01-16,China Daily)
It's lighter and thinner, has a bigger screen and sells at a fraction of the price of an iPhone 6 Plus.
Affordable-smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp introduced a strong challenge to Apple Inc on Thursday, along with an ambitious plan for the smart home sector.
Selling at 2,299 yuan ($370) for the entry-level product, the Mi Note, with its 5.7-inch screen, is the company's first large-screen device. The iPhone 6 Plus, which is equipped with a 5.5-inch screen, sells for more than 6,000 yuan in China.
Lei Jun, chief executive of Xiaomi, said the Chinese company will introduce more products using top-tier technologies and featuring low prices.
"We value innovation. Xiaomi will have tens of thousands of patents 10 years from now," Lei said.
Xiaomi is now the third-largest vendor of smartphones worldwide, lagging behind Apple and Samsung Electronics but edging out local brands such as Lenovo and Huawei, according to IDC, a research firm.
Analysts said Xiaomi's aggression has cost Apple and Samsung a big chunk of market share on the Chinese mainland. Xiaomi is now the largest smartphone maker in the country, according to consultancy Analysys International.
Xiaomi sold 61.12 million smartphones in 2014, an increase of 227 percent from the year before. The majority of its sales were in China.
Apple is attempting to enlarge its presence in second-tier cities to prop up its market share. The company, based in the United States, is opening five new brick-and-mortar retail stores in China before March, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.
Two weeks after Apple's Zhengzhou store opened for business, the company's 14th outlet on the Chinese mainland is set to open in Zhejiang province. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in October that the company will have 40 stores in China by 2016.
Because Apple only targets mid-and high-end buyers, the company's market share in China dropped to a single digit last year, Analysys International said.
Gene Cao, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc, said Xiaomi's victory over Apple in China was due to the Chinese company having a better business strategy than other players.
"Tech innovations will be surrounded by mobile Internet and smart homes this year," said Cao. Xiaomi is putting most of its energy into connecting household devices. "Smartphones are a key for Xiaomi to enter the smart home market," Lei, the CEO, said, adding that Xiaomi phones will be used to control wirelessly connected household appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and televisions.
The company will also launch a number of connectivity, control and cloud modules, using standards that can be pre-installed on traditional household appliances. The cost of the module is 22 yuan annually and will be lowered to 15 yuan later to expand installations, Lei said.
In late 2014, Xiaomi invested nearly 1.3 billion yuan in Midea Group, a Guangdong-based home appliance giant, to make smart home appliances that can be remotely controlled by smartphones.
Lei said he will create partnerships with more appliance makers this year.
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Partnership for online drug sales (2015-01-14,China Daily)
Guangzhou Baiyunshan plans private placement to augment funds
Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Co, a Hong Kong-and Shanghai-listed company, signed a strategic agreement with Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd on Tuesday to support its online sales, officials at the pharmaceutical company said.
"The agreement is aimed at establishing online-to-offline market integration for Baiyunshan's medical products. Both sides will also explore opportunities to jointly boost medical services and the wider health industry," said Li Chuyuan, president of Guangzhou Baiyunshan.
Alibaba Health Information Technology drew investment last year from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Shanghai-based investment company Yunfeng Capital.
According to Li, Yunfeng Capital will invest up to 500 million yuan ($80.64 million) as part of a private placement by Guangzhou Baiyunshan, which aims to draw funding from the company's employees and other strategic investors.
Guangzhou Baiyunshan, a State-backed company, announced a private placement of nearly 10 billion yuan on Tuesday. It is the first time the company has sought to raise funds since its initial public offering in 1997.
"We are offering shares to introduce more strategic investors to help create new business models and boost development of online sales," Li said.
The placement will help boost the company's market capitalization to nearly 100 billion yuan, according to the company.
The company will invest another 4 billion yuan to boost development of its trademark Wang Laoji herbal tea and another 1.5 billion yuan in medical research and development.
In a statement on Monday, Guangzhou Baiyunshan said the online drug market was worth 4.3 billion yuan in 2013, but it only accounted for a fraction of the wider medicine market.
According to sinohealth.com, China's medical products are mainly sold in hospitals and retail stores, with online pharmaceutical sales only accounting for 0.4 percent of the total.
"It is far below the United States' level of around 30 percent. So there is plenty of room to grow for the online market," Li said.
Guangzhou Baiyunshan's shares rose by the daily limit of 10 percent in Shanghai on Tuesday, and by about 19 percent in Hong Kong.
Previous media reports said that China will soon allow online sales of prescription drugs, which would open a huge market to online pharmacy operators and retail chains.
"As a strategic investor, we are confident in the booming development of online sales of medical and health products," said Wang Yaqing, chief executive officer of Alibaba Health Information Technology.
Zhu Yikai, general manager of Yunfeng Capital, said the company's investment was prompted by Guangzhou Baiyunshan's strength in medical research and development.
"As a traditional medical research and manufacturing company, Guangzhou Baiyunshan has developed lots of trademark products, which will help provide competitiveness in the online market," Zhu said.
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Inspur server a national breakthrough (2015-01-14,China Daily)
Wang Endong, a chief scientist with China's Inspur Group Ltd, compared the development of Inspur Tiansuo K1 with climbing the world's second highest mountain, Mount K2.
"When we started to develop the high-end fault-tolerant server, we named it K2 to remind every researcher of the extreme difficulties we could encounter," said Wang. He added that the name was changed to K1 after the team succeeded.
After four years of work, Inspur, a leading supplier of cloud-computing solutions and outsourcing services in China, created the 32-way high-end fault-tolerant server.
A fault-tolerant server allows systems to continue running when part of the system fails and avoids loss of data.
It helps achieve near-zero downtime, which is crucial for businesses that cannot afford a single moment of failure.
The project was awarded first place in the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award during a ceremony to honor those who achieved key breakthroughs in cutting-edge scientific and technological fields on Jan 9.
"Inspur Tiansuo K1 has realized breakthroughs in key technological aspects such as system architecture, system bus protocol design, core chipset design, hardware design, architecture and radiating design, system BIOS, fault-tolerant operating system core, application system's development and transplantation.
"The breakthrough makes China the third country that can produce a 32-way high-end fault-tolerant server following the USA and Japan," said Wang.
Wang said Inspur declared about 1,000 technological patents while developing K1 and 126 patents were authorized. "Tiansuo K1 breaks the foreign countries' monopoly of high-end servers used in core economic fields such as finance and telecommunication," said Wang.
Statistics from the International Data Corporation showed Inspur secured 12 percent of the high-end server market by the third quarter of last year. Since last year, Tiansuo K1 has been used in 12 sectors including finance, electric power, public security and public transportation.
Wang predicted K1 would secure 30 to 50 percent of the domestic high-end server market this year.
Tiansuo K1 uses a multi-level fault tolerant mechanism of hardware and software.
It can exceed 99.9 percent availability and limits downtime to no more than 5.26 minutes each year. "To Inspur, K2 symbolizes the next peak we will conquer," said Wang. Inspur is developing a 64-way high-end fault-tolerant server, which is expected to hit the market next year.
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Forum: IP progress, but many challenges (2015-01-14,China Daily)
Despite decades of improvement, the intellectual property rights system in China is meeting new challenges and needs new strategies, said industry insiders and scholars at the fifth China IP Annual Forum on Jan 9 in Beijing.
With the rapid development of the Internet, many IP rights holders have difficulties collecting legal evidence in growing online infringement, said Chen Xiaoyan, vice-president of Shanghai-based Sinofaith IP Group.
But she noted every online behavior "leaves traces" that can be hunted down.
Chen suggested a supervisory system covering online shopping portals, social media, search engines and ads that identifies the most likely counterfeiters and sellers. The system would not only help consumers distinguish fakes from the real thing, but also offer a truer picture of the market to IP managers in companies.
Qu Xiaoyang, IP supervisor at Siemens Ltd China, said IP awareness in Chinese companies has been on the rise over the past decade and increasing numbers of companies have established IP departments led directly by top management, all showing a more important role for IP in their strategies.
IP specialists who were before simply responsible for patent applications are now more involved in overall company strategies, Qu said.
Yet Lin Peng, president of the Beijing-based IP investment firm Zhigu Co, called for improved professionalism in IP management and protection.
"A patent means more than a certificate," he said. "It should be seen as an asset and its owner's operations might affect its value when it is transferred.
"During the sale of IP rights, a company should consider how a package of IP will benefit its industry chain and bring advantages in the market - which should all be represented in the contract," he said.
He also highlighted new models that encourage innovation. One example is the Ruichuang Patent Management Foundation, the first in the nation to focus on patent management and technology transfers.
"It is not a research institution and does not make any product, but it cooperates with research institutions and universities, and invests in invention," said Lin. "It then integrates patents and provides services to companies."
Wu Zheng, product supervisor at IPTalent Consulting Co, called for "open innovation" because it is difficult for a company to develop all technologies it needs on its own.
Focusing on cooperative innovation and patent licensing, the approach reduces R&D costs, increases profits and speeds up commercialization. But he added that challenges include how to identify, evaluate and acquire potential technologies and how to specify a patent's ownership in the contract.
As a milestone in the nation's IP, newly founded IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou also attracted the attention of the delegates.
Chen Jinchuan, deputy chief of the Beijing IP court that opened on Nov 6 last year, said at the forum that the court serves as "an explorer and forerunner in the journey of China's judiciary reform".
By Jan 7, the court had accepted more than 560 cases at the first instance, including 278 involving trademarks and 116 about patents. Du Changhui, head of the court's case registration office, said the court will receive at least 15,000 cases a year.
"From making the decision to establish IP courts to revising IP laws and issuing IP policies, all the moves must concentrate on companies, as they are the main IP creators and beneficiary of IP rights," said Li Mingde, director of the Intellectual Property Rights Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
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Characteristic light industry - national pharmaceutical industry (2015-01-13,China Daily)
Make greater efforts in base construction. Priorities will be attached to destitute areas such as Wuling Mountain Area, Wumeng Mountain Area and stony desertification areas in Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou. Projects will be set up through open competition. 37 counties (city, district, special administrative region) have been chosen to develop Chinese herbal medicine. The focus is to offer marketable medicines in China and raw materials for pharmaceutical companies in Guizhou. 23 varieties and commonly-used medicines have been selected as main herbs. On the basis of market demand and adaptability for the production of herbs, 27 kinds of herbs with sound industrial foundations are encouraged. They can be used as food and medicine at the same time. According to requirement of GAP, standardized planting bases of Chinese herbal medicine will be built and planting area of Chinese herbal medicine in each key county will be above 30,000 mu. Over one million mu planting area and industrial base of Chinese herbal medicine will be developed in Wuling Mountain Area, Wumeng Mountain Area and stony desertification areas in Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou. The following herbs will be grown such as gastrodia elata, eucommia ulmoides, radix pseudostellariae, pinellia ternate, dendrobe, blumea balsamifera, polygonum capitatum, herba epimedii, polygonum multiflorum, teasel root, uncaria etc. The scale of planting, output, market share and overall output value of these plants is aiming to take the lead in China. To take more market share and enhance competitive, the scales must be expanded. Five varieties are able to take up 60% of the market share in China. These efforts will make Chinese herbal medicine as an influential regional brand. By 2015 , the planting area of major varieties in key counties is to achieve about 2.5 million mu, which will fuel the growth of Chinese herbal medicine in Guizhou. Therefore, the planting area of herbs can reach five million mu. By that time, Guizhou will take the lead in terms of the planted area of herbs in China.
Pharmaceutical companies are encouraged to develop leading products of Chinese patented medicine, traditional Chinese medicine decoction pieces and traditional Chinese medicine extracts. In the meantime, they are recommended to be pioneers of chemical drugs and bio-medicine as well as leaders of production technology. Meanwhile, their business scopes shall be further expanded to food, healthcare products, daily use chemicals, disinfection and sterilization products, fertilizers and feed additives. The objective is to broaden business scope and extend industrial chain. More efforts will be made to develop enterprises of agriculture industrialization dedicated to grow traditional Chinese herbs and leading service-oriented companies for the distribution of traditional Chinese medicine. The target is to integrate pharmaceutical companies with herb-planting enterprises and distribution companies of medicine and herbs.
Better market system. Three to five regional trading markets for Chinese herbal medicine will be built in areas with concentrated enterprises of Chinese herbal medicine , such as in Zunyi, Bijie and Qiandongnan Autonomous Prefecture, located in Wuling Mountain Area, Wumeng Mountain Area and stony desertification areas in Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou. Seasonal trading markets will be set up in areas with over 1,000 mu areas of herb-planting. In the end, a market network covering the whole province can take shape.
Greater efforts will be exerted to register and apply trademarks, especially for herbal medicines of Miao Nationality. In addition, certification of standardization and place of origin shall be pressed ahead. More attention will also be given to apply famous and well-known trademarks so that Guizhou can become the Capital of Miao Nationality Herbal Medicine in China.
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Xiamen hospitals use wearable thermometer (2015-01-12,China Daily)
A wearable thermometer has recently been put into trial operation in two hospitals in Xiamen, Fujian province.
The coin-sized thermometer has a diameter of 3.8 centimeters and thickness of 0.8 centimeter. It is attached under the armpit and can transmit the temperature data onto a mobile phone within one minute using cloud technology .
The thermometer is made of graphene . Its producer, Xiamen Linktop Company, says it will apply for a patent .
The new thermometer surpasses traditional mercury ones, which can lead to potential mercury contamination.
The cloud computing app realizes real-time monitoring on the mobile phones and will be particularly beneficial to children and elderly patients.
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Top 10 Chinese textiles & garments brands of 2014 (2015-01-12,China Daily)
With a brand value of 19.749 billion yuan ($3.18 billion), Bosideng has topped the textile and garments list of the 2014 China Brand Evaluation.
The ranking was released by China Association for Promoting Brand Construction, an association that aims to build Chinese brands, on Dec 12.
The association evaluated more than 500 Chinese brands, and classified them into several categories, including machineries, building materials, textile & garments, and electronics.
Let's take a look at the top 10 Chinese brands in the Textile & Garments category in 2014.
No 10 Qiaodan Sports
Brand value: 3.21 billion yuan
Qiaodan Sports Co Ltd was founded in 2002 in East China's Fujian province. It designs, researches, produces and markets products.
No 9 361 Degrees
Brand value: 3.84 billion yuan
361 Degrees (China) Co Ltd is a sportswear company founded in 2003. It's headquartered in East China's Fujian province.
No 8 Sunvim Group
Brand value: 4.38 billion yuan
Sunvim Group Co Ltd is an enterprise group that focuses on home textiles and integrates multiple industries like domestic and foreign trade, real estate and energy technology. It was founded in 1987 and listed in Shenzhen stock exchange in 2006.
No 7 Luthai Textile
Brand value: 5.05 billion yuan
Luthai Textile Co Ltd is a joint venture corporation, and is known as a high-end yarn dyed fabric producer. Its production lines include cotton planting, spinning, dyeing, weaving, finishing and shirts sewing.
No 6 Grace Textile
Brand value: 5.66 billion yuan
Zhejiang Grace Textile Group Co Ltd is a textile company engaged in the production and sales of household products, including all kinds of towels, mats, bathrobes, slippers, socks, fabrics and yarn.
No 5 HOdo
Brand value: 8.34 billion yuan
HOdo Group is a key clothing conglomerate in Jiangsu province. It has two trademarks HOdo and CELIMO and was founded in 1957.
No 4 Sunshine Group
Brand value: 10.01 billion yuan
Jiangsu Sunshine Group was founded in 1986, and it's engaged in several industries like wool textile, garment, biological pharmacy and real estate.
No 3 Anta Sports Products Limited
Brand value: 11.44 billion yuan
Anta Sports Products Limited is a professional sportswear company headquartered in Jinjiang, East China's Fujian province.
It is involved in the innovation, design, research, development, manufacturing, marketing and retail of sports equipment.
No 2 Youngor
Brand value: 18.50 billion yuan
Garment manufacturing and marketing is the core business of the Youngor Group, and the company has engaged in business in textile and garment manufacturing. It was founded in 1979.
No 1 Bosideng
Brand value: 19.74 billion yuan
Bosideng International Holdings Ltd has a total of 13,009 retail outlets in China, exclusively selling down apparel under its four core apparel brands, namely Bosideng, Snow Flying, Combo and Bengen.
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Top 10 Chinese innovative companies with most patents (2015-01-09,China Daily)
Innovation is now a key factor in the development of industries ranging from IT to agriculture to communications, pushing growth of Chinese enterprises faster and higher on a global scale.
China Internet Weekly conducted a study and ranked companies in IT, software, machinery, biopharmaceuticals, communications and auto industries based on the number of registered patents each of them had until Dec 19, 2014.
Although the ranking does not fully reflect the companies'competitiveness in technology research, it serves as a gauge to see their performances in the market.
10. Foton Automobile Registered patents: 3,914
9 BOE Technology Group Registered patents: 4,160
8 Lenovo Group Ltd Registered patents: 4,874
7 Haier Group Registered patents: 6,406
6 Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) Registered patents: 6,690
5 Gree Electric Appliances Registered patents: 8,383
4 Geely Auto Registered patents: 8,569
3 BYD Co Ltd Registered patents: 10,048
2 ZTE Corp Registered patents: 32,649
1 Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Registered patents: 41,813
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LKK vows to fight against online rumors, counterfeits (2015-01-08,China Daily)
LKK, a Beijing-headquartered creative design company, held news conferences on Jan 7, in four cities ¨C Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu ¨C to knock down wild rumors about one of its fancy products, the 55¡ãCup.
The company announced that they had not launched any paid promotional campaign on Wechat¡¯s social function, or "Pengyouquan" in Chinese.
This announcement targeted the overwhelming denouncement that many Wechat users did not receive the 55¡ã Cup after they had been charged a delivery fee for the present in a "promotion campaign".
There were also rumors that the 55¡ã Cup uses sodium acetate trihydrate, a cheap industrial raw material that can not be used in daily life, to cool down boiling water to a moderate temperature for people.
Such rumors made the company a target of public criticism. However, the counterfeitors should be to blame.
Jia Wei, founder of LKK, said his company had no choice but to deliver the truth to the public. It revealed two documents at the press conference; one is a national patent certificate, while another is a report by RoHS, an EU regulation, forbidding the use of hazardous substances.
Li Pan, general manager of Beijing 55¡ãTechnology Co, which was the developer team for the cup and established by LKK last October, said they use the patented physical method, not a highly questionable material to cool down or warm up the water in the cup.
They had not imagined that the cup would catch so much attention nationwide, and the counterfeits were so popular on social networking apps and some e-commerce platforms.
"The fake 55¡ãCups fatally hurt our LKK brand image and the interests of the consumers in particular, so we are striving to fight against the counterfeits, " Li added.
Jia Wei also called for more effective ways to protect innovative ideas and original products. He said his team would learn from the lesson and sharpen their vigilance on counterfeits.
Founded in 2004, LKK Design has grown into a leading industrial design company with international influence.
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Guizhou-based company becomes Apple's official screw material supplier (2015-01-07,China Daily)
The roaring of machinery is heard while approaching Shengxing's workshops. The workers are busy operating the machines to turn raw titanium materials into materials for making screws of Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 6.
Shengxing Co is like a shining spot in Qianxinan prefecture, Southwest China's Guizhou province . Qianxinan is a mountainous karst area.
Founded in 1999 with just $1.6 million in registered capital and covering 20,000 square meters, the company has a powerful research team, the members of which include an academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The main business of the company is to produce titanium and titanium alloy products with its own technologies and experienced team.
In 2012, the company embarked on preparing titanium screws for Apple Inc. After furious competition with other companies from home and abroad, Shengxing became Apple's official screw material supplier.
From January 2013 to September 2014, more than 30 tons of titanium screw materials have been manufactured and provided by Shengxing.
"The raw material of titanium with 620mm in diameter is transformed to 1mm in diameter after dozens of procedures," said Xiao Guiyun, general manager of Shengxing Co.
Shengxing provides Apple manufacturing foundries with superior quality material, which makes the screw yield rate above 90 percent.
Although Shengxing is just a company from under-developed Guizhou province, it has gained tremendous technological experiences from titanium processing.
"We have acquired six patents for utility models and two patents for invention. Meanwhile we are applying for another patent, which will bring our patents to three," said Xiao.
Foxconn, Apple's manufacturing foundry, used to purchase screw materials from Japan because of its first class raw material processing capacity.
The situation changed in 2012. Apple purchases its screw materials from China, and titanium companies like Shengxing have finally defeated Japanese companies in this field.
According to Xiao, Guizhou has abundant raw titanium materials. Guizhou has the biggest titanium sponge manufacturing base.
Capital shortage is the major problem that Shengxing faces. The intensive processing of titanium, especially materials for nuclear work and spaceships, requires large amounts of capital .
Shengxing cooperates with other titanium manufacturers by providing its technologies to solve the capital shortage problem.
Other titanium products are becoming popular. The pipes specialized for nuclear power made of titanium, which used to be imported from abroad, have been produced and imported to Africa.
"Although titanium processing is extraordinarily complicated, Shengxing is confident it can do it well. We are looking forward to not only providing screw materials but screws for Apple," said Xiao.
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China aiming to triple patents by 2020 (2015-01-05,China Daily)
China is aiming to triple the number of patents it files by 2020 as Beijing looks to boost the country's high-tech economy in areas from agriculture to pharmaceuticals, according to a notice from the central government on Sunday.
China is targeting 14 invention patents per 10,000 habitants by 2020 compared to four in 2013. It published 629,612 patents in 2013, over 200,000 more than the United States, according to a Thomson Reuters study in December.
Beijing wants to become a bigger player in high technology industries as the country grapples with slower growth and rising costs for its manufacturing base. This is likely to raise a challenge to global players operating in China and abroad who have typically dominated in more innovative sectors.
"Intellectual property (IP) is increasingly becoming a vital component of China's strategic resources and competitive ability," the statement posted on the Central People's Government website said.
It added that by 2020 China would have boosted its legal environment for IP protection and management.
Beijing is also looking to reduce the length of the review process for patent and trademark applications. Patent reviews will decline to 20.2 months in 2020 from 22.3 months in 2013, while trademark reviews will fall to 9 months from 10 months.
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Garage Cafe, where ideas meet capital (2015-01-04,China Daily)
In a buzzing cafe at the center of Beijing's tech hub Zhongguangcun, ideas are being incubated as budding entrepreneurs meet with investors to see their visions realized.
Garage Cafe, known in Chinese as "Cheku Cafe," stands on the second floor of a hotel in Zhongguancun. Humming with activity, the cafe is regularly filled with ambitious business people working on creative ideas for start-ups.
A whole day can be spent in the cafe for the cost of a single cup of coffee. The first person to arrive at the shop when it opens in the morning receives a free cup.
Liu Zhixiong has been coming to the cafe since his business was nothing more than a concept. He is now CEO of Haogougou, a social networking website designed especially for pet-owners.
"I was a member of the cafe's first club in 2012," Liu said. "Garage Cafe offers two important things for start-ups. First, it provides a space for us to meet and help each other out so we don't have to go it alone. In addition, it provides us with opportunities to meet investors."
The cafe was founded in 2011 by Su Di, an investor who was having a hard time finding suitable start-ups to invest in. He decided to create a place where entrepreneurs could work together in a comfortable environment. The cafe's name is drawn from U.S. companies like Amazon and Google who got their start in garages.
Jin Zisen, CEO of Garage Cafe, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that they designed the cafe as a platform for start-ups to find all the necessary resources and help they need. They began offering assistance with company registration, financial support, investment, tutelage and patent information.
"We are also home to a community where start-ups can meet and help each other. In fact, some of the most successful projects came not from singular ideas, but were the outcome of brainstorming between entrepreneurs," Jin said. "The core spirit of Garage Cafe is helping each other."
About 300 start-up projects have been successfully hatched at the cafe over the last three years. The cafe even caught the attention of Lu Wei, director of the China Internet Network Information Center, who visited it on Dec 1 before making a trip to the United States.
In the cafe, Lu listened to the stories of young entrepreneurs and spoke of his experiences to students at the University of Washington as an example of how the Internet is bringing immense opportunities to China.
As the cafe continues to be a popular destination for entrepreneurs and investors, it speaks for the rising popularity of entrepreneurship in China.
"In China, the general environment for starting one's own business is much better than it was years ago," said Liu. "Here in Zhongguancun, start-ups are common. They used to be scattered around in different places, but now places like Zhongguancun connect start-ups from around the country, just like Silicon Valley in the United States."
The year 2014 saw China's economy developing into a "new normal" state that focuses on a sustainable growth pattern driven by innovation, making places like Garage Cafe even more important in terms of boosting the country's economic development.
"The times are changing. We will try our best to diversify our offerings to cater to more specific needs. We will also make our services more systematic," Jin said. "At Garage Cafe, our most important consideration is not making money. It is making what we do more valuable to our customers."
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China issues action plan to fully implement national IPR strategy (2015-01-04,Xinhua)
China has issued an action plan on further implementation of the country's intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy.
The plan, released by the State Council General Office, highlighted the goals and measures for IPR generation, use, protection and management from 2014 to 2020.
China issued an outline of the national IPR strategy in 2008, planning to increase self-directed IPR, improve protection and the country's IPR awareness over five years. It also set goals for 2020.
The first five-year goals set by the outline have essentially been realized, the latest plan said.
Further enforcement of the strategy is an important support and guarantee for deepened overall reform and a significant move to help promote economic adjustment.
It detailed actions taken for the full implementation of the IPR strategy, including promotion of IPR creation and use, strengthening protection, intensifying management and extending international cooperation.
Three fundamental projects will be carried out in IPR information services, statistics and monitoring, and talent training, according to the plan.
IPR information will be open to the public for free or at low cost.
To further education, the national accounts system will begin including IPR performance score and more IPR-related content will be brought into school curriculums and other forms of law education, it said.
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