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Chinese innovations solidify their importance in global tech industry

Updated: Jan 4,2017 4:57 PM     Xinhua

LAS VEGAS — Gary Shapiro, president of the US Consumer Technology Association, said he was impressed by Chinese innovations in the consumer technology industry, from drones and smartphones to innovative mobile services, etc.

China’s importance in global consumer technology industry is not only reflected by its strong manufacturing, but also its increasing engagement in innovative new areas, Shapiro, also CTA chief executive officer, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

In regard to China’s rising importance in technology innovation, international media widely reported that some western tech companies are turning to Chinese firms for ideas. A New York Times report even said that “the trope that China copies the US hasn’t been true for years, and in mobile it’s the opposite: the US often copies China.”

Although Shapiro noted that companies across the world are learning from each other in terms of innovation, he emphasized that China is increasingly getting into innovative new areas, such as drones, smartphones and services like WeChat.

“WeChat is an excellent platform in terms of what it does for Chinese citizens, not only to communicate, but to pay for services, and to do so many different things both as social media and for business transactions that makes life easy,” Shapiro said.

He and his team used WeChat, a mobile communication app devised by China’s technology giant Tencent, as their official communication vehicle in Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2016, the annual bazaar of the latest electronic gadgets and technology hosted by the CTA.

At this year’s CES, which will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, from Jan 5 to 8, more than 3,800 companies across the world will showcase their state-of-the-art consumer novelties, and over one third of them were Chinese companies.

Considering the importance of Chinese companies in the tech industry, CTA has invited Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, to deliver a keynote speech at this year’s CES. It’s the second time that the CES had a Chinese company CEO to do keynoting.

“Huawei is such an important growing company, not only in China but globally,” said Shapiro. “The keynote platform, which is considered one of the most desirable in the world for any business executive, is appropriate for such an important company to deliver the message we look forward to hearing.”

At CES 2016, one of the headline news was that a Chinese company was accused of violating a US company’s patent and was raided by federal agents. However, the American company quietly dropped the case a month later. Many Chinese companies believed the purpose of the American company was to prevent its Chinese competitor from displaying its product at the CES.

Shapiro told Xinhua he was not clear about the case, but stressed that China and the US agreed on the importance of intellectual property protection and both Chinese and American companies should protect their innovations and follow the intellectual property laws and patent laws.

He suggested Chinese companies should make sure their patents are “strong” and “legitimate”, because the patent and IP are very important in the world of electronics and technology.

With the election of Donald Trump as the new US president, uncertainty around China and US economic relations is rising. “I will not say there will be a harsh business environment” for Chinese tech companies who want to invest in US, said Shapiro.

He said Trump has a range of policy choices and he hoped that the President-elect would introduce favorable policies to incentivize companies, including Chinese ones, to manufacture in US.

This year marks the 50th anniversary for CES. According to Shapiro, the CES 2017 will be the largest show ever. In addition to major growth in categories like wearables, drones and self-driving cars, the CES will also showcase new categories, such as sports technology, health, beauty, and baby care.

“We’re living in a world where technology is part of our everyday life,” the CTA president stressed.

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