Buy local, make globally

10:14, March 24, 2010      

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The nation's move toward more government procurement of proprietary domestic products has sparked intense discussion among international companies, according to Jack Chang, chairman of the Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC).

The trend might not accelerate the nation's efforts to build an innovation-oriented society, and it could also stifle technological cooperation between domestic and foreign companies, Chang said.

The policy should include products with real creative value made by both local and foreign-invested companies, he said.

"That would help more to improve the country's innovation capability as it will encourage foreign-invested companies to make continuing research in leading-edge technologies within China."

The first step for Chinese companies to grow stronger and go global is "to compete fairly with their foreign rivals on their home turf", Zhang said.

"During the process, they will gain more opportunities to exchange with and learn from their foreign competitors, and at the same time seek most appropriate partners to jointly develop the international market."

He cited Huawei, a Shenzhen-based telecom company with global reach, as a successful example, adding that cooperation with worldwide partners has helped hone the company's technological and marketing expertise, connect it with the international business community and better serve local and international markets.

"We hope we could have opportunities to deliver our opinions and suggestions about the issue to the central government and make contributions to policy implementation and intellectual property protection," he said.

QBPC, part of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment, enables communication and cooperation on intellectual property protection between foreign-invested companies and various levels of governments in China.

When the committee celebrates its 10th anniversary tomorrow, its annual Best Cases Awards will be announced and a high-level forum on improving the environment for innovation will be held.

Participants will include Chong Quan, assistant minister of commerce, Gan Shaoning, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, Robert Goldberg, charge d'affaires at the US embassy, and Michael Pulch, deputy head of Mission of Europe Union.

When the organization was founded in 2000, China did not have its current priority on intellectual property, so the committee faced many problems and obstacles, Chang recalled.

"The biggest difficulty was the difference in perceptions. Some local enforcement agencies believed that counterfeiting was a necessary process for primitive economic growth and did no harm to society."

"Changing people's minds is a hard task, but once it is done, our work will become easier than before," Chang noted.

QBPC now has a membership of more than 180 multinationals including General Electric, IBM, General Motor, Nike and Unilever, that together represent $70 billion in investment and hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in China.

Chang said he is grateful for the support and trust given by central governmental departments, especially the General Administration of Customs, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the Ministry of Public Security, which have helped QBPC establish cooperation with many of their local counterparts.

The committee's efforts have also been recognized by foreign governments and international organizations. The Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group awarded it for outstanding achievements in 2002 and 2004.

"We showcase the progress in China's intellectual property protection to the international community, in a bid to boost foreign investors' confidence in China and benefit the country's economic development."

Source: China Daily

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