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Fundador y managing partner de Innovative Bioconsulting, una consultora dirigida a empresas biotecnológicas. Profesor de Gestión Empresaria en el Máster de Biotecnología de la Escuela de Negocios Aliter, Madrid, España. Tutor de Emprendedores de IE Business School. Anteriormente ha desarrollado su carrera profesional en el sector biofarmacéutico, con experiencia multinacional y creación de dos empresas. Master en Biotecnología y MBA

martes, 9 de agosto de 2011

About the Chinese "opportunity" / Sobre la "oportunidad" china

Last February I was interviewed by Cotizalia, an on-line business newspaper. They asked me if it would be interesting [for a biotech company] to establish in China. This is what I answered:

As there are great advantages going there, there are additional problems. Cultural difference is important, and an controlled economy and socialist, which can be inconvenient for the future development of the company and is also at the expense of the impositions of government. Not everything is as easy as wanting to leave. Chinese culture is very different from ours, and this must be taken into account when structuring the opportunity.

Moreover, I think it is suicidal for the Western countries to continue transferring knowledge and technology to who will be our major competitors. What is our destiny when they do not need us? I advocate buying, investing and consuming goods and services or Western Europeans stop feeding the lion one day could devour us.

Yesterday I read two disturbing things. First, China was publically and officially critiquing the US for their debt rating. This is, at least, the second time that China does that, they are not afraid of the most powerful (till now) nation in the World. Second, in a much more lower level, I read the following in The IPKat (a very interesting blog on intellectual property issues):

Recently this Kat wrote about a number fake Apple stores in Kunming in China. Since posting, Chinese officials have found five fake Apple stores in Kunming. However, only two of the five stores have been shut down. Somewhat surprisingly, the two stores were closed because they did not possess a business licence required for all commercial retail operations, not because they had infringed Apple's IP rights.

Apple has now taken matters into its own hands and filed a lawsuit for infringement of its trade marks in the US District Court in the Eastern District of New York against three companies and approximately 52 named and John Doe defendants. Exact details of the lawsuit are unknown at this stage because the documents are sealed to all except for legal counsel and the parties involved. However, CNET reports that Apple has filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order as well as a preliminary injunction on the named defendants.

It would appear that Apple is not the only target in Kunming: last week, a number of outlets reported that Kunming also has a fake IKEA, a store is called '11 Furniture'. The first thing to note is that 11 Furniture's Chinese name 'Shi Yi Jia Ju' sounds very much like IKEA's Chinese name 'Yi Jia Jia Ju'. The second is that, inside, the look and feel of the store is virtually identical to expected in an authorised IKEA outlet. For instance, there is the similar blue-and-yellow colour scheme, signage, mock-up rooms, rocking chairs, miniature pencils and mininalist wooden tables in the cafeteria. [...]

Worried? If Chinese Government does not take any measure to protect Western companies' rights in China, does anyone think that a Western biotech company founded there is not going to have IP problems? Take into account that China is a socialist country: private property is not recognised… the company doesn’t legally belong to the investors…

Finally, China is not afraid of the US as I mentioned before. China may argue that they have laws protecting IP, and foreing investements but, do they enforce Law? Sometimes, when they want to because they have some interest. They are the new empire. Don not forget it.
Don't tell me that China is a great opportunity. It is not. At least, not for our countries, or our beliefs. Individual and human rights are not in the Chinise agenda. Probably they do not know what I am talking about... and they are starting in ruling the world. Scaring.

2 comentarios:

  1. Scary indeed. I recently knew about a company based in Singapore, a CMO, dedicated to develope products to clinical phases and sell the process to a big chinese company for manufacturing and distribution in China since this country does not accept any product manufactured abroad. China is the big market, is where the money is, they own half of the world... We cannot say no, not so simple. Some creative solutions are needed.

  2. Alfredo, that's my point: we are buying them, protecting their IP rights in our countries but, in exchange, we have a lot of barriers to sell our products there and our IP rights are not protected, as you can read at IP Kat. We have the key: they still need us to fuel their growing so we can ask for some protection. I have no problems if they develop their own technology but the point of the post is to say, do not fund any (bio)tech company there. It will be copied and you can't do anything!