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Is Copycatting Right or Wrong?
发布时间:2013-04-03 浏览次数:

Iphone5 has just come into market, and do you want to possess that but to be blocked by the high price? A Copycatting iPhone fulfills your dream. It was said that a copycatting iPhone4 was only charged you for 1000yuan at that time.



The word of “copycatting” originally means the places that are surrounded by defensive fence in mountain forests or the stockade villages. Moreover, the word “copycatting factory” has been used in Cantonese long before. It specially refers to the small-scale and domestic workshops or those manufacturers that don’t have their own designs and creativities.


The phenomenon initially arose in Mainland China. As a matter of fact, in May 2001, a small factory imitating NOKIA mobile phones in Guangdong Province had been considered as the origin of “copycatting” culture. These products, copied without the property right granted, look identical to qualified products in appearance or just with little changes that could hardly be noticed. Gradually, more and more famous brand were copied.


“NOKLA” was born and “copycatting” followed. However, not until the phenomenon was reported by “Half-hour Economy”, a TV program in CCTV-2, on June 10th 2008, did the “copycatting” began to raise the public’s concerns and nationwide interests. The industry ranged from military industry to textile industry and the most noteworthy effect was that “copycatting” made a great blow to the field of cell phone.


What made the “copycatting” so popular even when it was suspected of infringing a right? First of all, it brings tangible benefits to common people. They can enjoy more service of modern technology with less money. Secondly, the popularizing of digital products was hastened. In 1990s, a person who had a cellular phone was in the enviable position because few people could afford that. However, MP3, MP4 and cell phones have become common things at present. Thirdly, it responds to the market more swiftly and it’s more considerate in design. As far as many people are concerned, a cell phone with a bigger screen, longer stand-by time and louder voice is practical enough. A cheaper copycat was born and satisfied them.


What’s more, “copycatting” industry makes contributions to alleviating the employment pressure under the financial crisis. It is a kind of labor-intensive industry that depends on amounts of cheap labor force, not the technology or machine. Therefore, lots of unemployed people will have an opportunity to get a job. Fourthly, from a social point of view, copycatting products have met the public’s requirements, like the job opportunities and bargains mentioned, so people fell content and the sense of wellbeing will be increased. Last but not least, copycatting products compress the profit margins of some monopolized industry. It encourages them to improve the technology, the market visibility and market share for a better survival and competitiveness.


On the other hand, what most people think is that the copycat pirates and plagiarizes. That’s right but not overall because they have some techniques itself. While Jörg Jelden, a scholar devoted to future and expert of Trendbüro Asia Pacific (a German institute), received an interview of SonntagsZeitung (a weekly newspaper of Switzerland), he put forward a distinctive idea. He held the belief that those big enterprises in western should learn from the copycatting manufacturing in China.


For instance, when G1, the first cell phone with Android operating system, didn’t come into Swiss market, Chinese had enjoyed them. The copycat G1 not only could run Windows Mobile and Google’s android system, but could also use two SIM cards. Meanwhile, copycatting iPhones also allowed two SIMs. That is to say, Chinese manufacturers had some improvements on the basis of genuine science and technology according to the local market requirements. It was advisable.


Even though it is suspicious of a tort and hit “edge ball” but just as a famous saying “Only in the state does a man have a rational existence”, the requirement stimulates producing. However, “copycatting” still remain controversial.


Every coin has two sides, so do the “copycatting”. Just as its definition, “copycatting” culture is a culture of copy fundamentally. It is unpromising and is to perish to blindly imitate others rather than innovate independently. For the worse, “copycatting” is thriving by using the legal loopholes, evading taxes and violating intellectual property rights to make profits. By dint of its low price and all-purpose functions, “copycatting” occupies a large share of the market, which leads to that high technology industries couldn’t have enough time and money invested to research and develop new products. In addition, the quality and after-sale service can’t be guaranteed. We customers purchase not only the products itself but also a series of services. Yet most copycatting products aren’t durable. It is cheap but short-lives.


Shandong Province in China is the manufacturing center of “copycatting car” where the annual production has been over 10 million. Some of these cars are red, which are the very image of Chery QQ and others are gold, similar to Spark. The only way to distinguish them from Chery’s and Spark’ is to tell the front logo. You can see many such cars running on the street. If asking why people are willing to buy them, you may get the answer that such copycatting cars are so-called “electrocar”, no license plate, no auto insurance and no expense for road toll at all. Besides, such copycatting cars could run 300 kilometers at most if charged one time. How convenient and functional the copycatting car is!


Classical cases about “copycatting” appear frequently in advertisements. As is known to all, when a company wants to promote their new product, their first choice is probably to have the most popular star in endorsement for them. But the fee is fairly expensive. So as to maximize their profits, businessmen gives up the superstars but to find someone who looks like them. As a result, we are often confused by these tricks and feel fooled.


Another tricky example in advertisements is to change the original Chinese characters in one word to another similar character so that people can be confused between the real and fake products if they don’t pay attention. For instance, we can find“康师傅” changed into”康帅傅”, “小洋人” to ”小羊人” and ”雕牌” transformed to ”周佳牌”。 In a word, businessmen exhausted their tooth and nail to think of such “fantasy” ideas to make money.


Copycatting culture is applied to all aspects of the society. Many film companies in Mainland China tend to reproduce foreign famous films and drama series, especially the latter one. Widely-known ones like The Prince of Tennis rooted from Japan, Ugly Wudi adapted from an American popular drama Ugly Betty Mighty, and even the very popular talent shows in recent years. Some people call them “copycat drama series” for the worse plots and the shocking modeling designs. Actually, they bought the copyright.


Nowadays, the “copycatting culture” has greatly influenced our life. Apart from the “copycatting” part, it contains “culture”, which reflects to some extend the grassroots' culture.


In China, everyone knows Spring Festival Gala of CCTV. But a new “copycatting” Spring Festival Gala on the Internet has emerged as the times develop fast and recreations increase quickly. Since people become more and more particular about the annual Spring Festival Gala, “copycatting” one invites well-known Internet Stars to make performances and is broadcast simultaneously with CCTV. Its influence can’t be ignored because it indeed presents an original visual feast to the national audience.


With help of the Internet, the grassroots can express their different opinions and emotions more freely in the “copycatting Gala”, either the desire for public order and a better life or the hatred and dissatisfaction caused by social. If seen in this way, the copy presents the wish and wisdom of crowds.


Faced with the “copycatting culture”, we should arrive at the consensus that this “copycat” turns out an imitation and tort after all, to which the government should attach attention but the phenomenon is also necessary during the development of the market economy. It embraces positive and negative factors in social progress. From the angle of scientific outlook on development, we should take the essence and discard the dross.


To be frank, imitation is what we have to get through in a certain phase during the economic development. But the imitation must be transformed to the innovation, from a purely imitative manufacturing to an independent innovation. We rely on the nation's creativity, yet it requires developed legal protections. If the intellectual property is highly valued, people’s creativity will to some degree be inspired.

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