Walking down the alleyways of China there seem to always be advertisements with cell phone numbers pasted on telephone booths, pedestrian overpasses and utility poles. First they showed pictures of scantily clad females over the cell phone numbers, then promotions for stamp-making prowess (刻萝卜章服务).
Now they all seem to be for electronic equipment recycling. High prices paid for used ICs and circuit boards! That’s China for you – never let a potential market go to waste.
Judging from all the advertising, something must be going right in this industry.
And in fact, it is without a question a vibrant industry which merits more than one case study. Here I’d like to mention just one small part of it: the circuit board copying industry (抄板行业). Basically the way it works is this: Let’s assume there is a new innovative device out on the market – one which you feel has great market potential. You want a piece of that market. So what do you do? You take it to a 抄板公司 (PCB copying company) to reverse-engineer it. Process all in all takes around 4 months start to finish.
Does this discourage innovation or hamper progress? Far from it. The original manufacturer has a full 4 months to stay ahead of the game and get the next generation ready. No one seems to feel slighted when they are targetted for copying. On the contrary, you know you have arrived when your product starts to prompt copycats.