David Wolf of Silicon Hutong has a very thoughtful post up on innovation in China. The post is entitled “Searching for China’s Soul of innovation,” and it nicely takes us through China’s interrupted history of innovation and posits whether China will become a great innovator again, what it might take for that to happen, and what that might mean if it does.
I agree with Wolf that China innovation is going to be with Chinese characteristics, not just some knock-off of US methods:
So much of what is written about China and innovation today, whether by foreign or Chinese observers, is patronizingly prescriptive. If China wants to innovate, it must imitate – it must recreate the conditions that exist in high-tech hothouses of Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128 corridor, Austin, and Seattle. There is some truth in that, but there seems something unnatural about trying to graft San Jose onto Shanghai, or Federal Way onto Tianjin.
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Perhaps the answer for China is to search for an answer to the independent innovation challenge in its own history, applying foreign lessons where appropriate.
Federal Way? Here in Seattle, Federal Way (a small city located between Seattle and Tacoma) is known more for its Wild Waves Theme Park and used car lots than for any innovation. Did you mean Redmond, home of Microsoft and many other tech companies?