David Li
Oct 14, 2014

Shanzhai: Open innovation as an invitation to start new brands

CHINA INNOVATION 2014: New brands emerge from China's hardware ecosystem.

The term shanzhai’ is still often used pejoratively to refer to Chinese copycat electronic devices, based on copied designs and knock-off brand names. But its literal meaning is “mountain village”, and it refers to bandits who opposed corrupt rulers and hid in the countrysidemuch like Robin Hood in English folklore. The Robin Hood spirit is inspiring legitimate, and often innovative, products as the socially progressive maker movement meets with hard-nosed manufacturing.

It’s true...

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