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"If you miss China, you miss the future," Jack Ma, Chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, told the group of entrepreneurs at Cobo Center in Detroit. China, once infamously known as tech copycats, is now becoming a hub for innovation with its technology products or business models as mentioned in the Bloomberg column.|
(Bloomberg) It's difficult for many Americans to shake their mental image of Chinese knockoffs peddled on street corners. And for years that described Chinese technology, too. Local companies set up shop by copying eBay, Google, Apple and other foreign technology companies.
But China has moved way past its knockoff phase. Now Chinese companies are setting global trends in technology products or business models in areas such as supercomputers, technology-enabled transportation, digital payments and artificial intelligence. China's technology companies and its homegrown tech ideas are spreading everywhere. The world is cribbing from China now.
The U.S. and other countries have seen a flurry of apps that are inspired by Meitu, the Chinese app that pretties up selfie photos. American startups are copying China's fleets of on-demand bicycle rentals for getting around crowded cities. Apple and Facebook are trying to remold their messaging apps in the image of China's ubiquitous WeChat. Before there was Tinder for hookups, there was similar dating app Momo in China. Every company that makes drones is following the lead of China's SZ DJI Technology.
The influence of Chinese tech in the world arguably started with telecommunications equipment company Huawei Technologies Co. It branched first into Europe and forced stodgy local rivals such as Sweden's Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent of France to cut prices and copy Huawei's more advanced methods of updating older gear with fresh software. (Some European officials have said Huawei has benefited unfairly from Chinese government subsidies, a claim the company has denied.)
More recently in India, Chinese smartphone brands including Xiaomi and Vivo are among the top sellers in the rapidly growing Indian smartphone market, and China's e-commerce king Alibaba is helping digital payments and online shopping catch on quickly there.