The Chinese attitude to IP

This morning’s Observer column

The one phrase you hear very little of whenever China’s economic potential is discussed is ‘intellectual property’. This is because China is world champion in every branch of piracy known to man. I don’t think there’s a CD, DVD, computer game or software package that is not illicitly available for a dollar or two in virtually every town in China.

That’s why the top executives of Western technology companies are – to a man or woman – agreed upon one thing: that while they are more than happy to have their products manufactured by Chinese labour in Chinese factories, they will never, ever entrust their intellectual property to any Chinese organisation…