Innovation, and imitation, in China

Whenever I am talking with anyone about entrepreneurship in China, we end up discussing innovation. And I am nearly always asked whether I see real innovation in China, or if the “innovation” is really just imitation. While this a very nuanced topic I plan to explore in many posts, in this post I wanted to discuss just one example of innovation flowing from imitation in China. This example blurs the lines between innovation and imitation for me, and reminds me that innovation is often just taking someone’s idea and tweaking it a bit. So while when I picture innovation I often imagine a creative genius with an epiphany, innovation is more frequently found when one idea is tweaked, or when multiple ideas are put together in novel ways. In business, this generally stems from solving problems faced by your customers in novel ways.
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