Xiaomi, China and Stolen IP

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February 27, 2015 by ...

Xiaomi has been ‘accused’ of borrowing design ideas, tech and miscellaneous assorted intellectual property (IP). The claims are not without merit, but then again, they are from China. Not that this excuses Xiaomi’s behavior, but at least helps explain it. 

For example, stealing, repackaging and then selling knockoff tech is a staple of the PRC. In fact, Beijing encourages such theft as seen here. In addition, the communist party controls companies who monetize stolen goodies. Look no farther than China’s peddling its high speed train expertise as proof. 

‘When I grow up I’m going to be a thief just like you dad.’

Confucian societies are patriarchies. As such they see governmental figures more like a father figure than stiff beaurocrats. The link is so strong that they tend to look up to ‘big daddy warbucks’ and follow his lead. China is Confucianist so you do the math on that to see how they roll.

If math is not your thing, then I will help ya. Throughout time, the emperor of China was called the son of heaven. Setting aside the absurdity of this coming from an atheistic belief construct, one can see how important the emperor was and esteem in which he was held. He was given a ‘mandate to rule from heaven’ after all. As such, the Chinese took their cultural and life cues from this guy. If it was good enough for (fill in emperor name here) from (fill in number here)000 ago, then it was good enough for his peeps as well. Yes the Chinese have their own version of the saying ‘like father, like son’.

As you can probably figure out, what this means is that the Chinese are heavily reliant on their leadership for behavioral norms. Confucianism is built upon rigid hierarchies with leader-oldest man of the clan being the most important. This included a measure of reciprocity, however and the leader had to give to get.

As a consequence of this system of ‘checks and balances’, the leader had to be upright to maintain his position. If he was not, then he either had to allow his people to follow suit or they would kill him and install another heartless dictator. Face being what it is, both he and they would look the other way as they all went about breaking laws of both man and nature. This would continue and every couple hundred of years a new emperor would bludgeon the old one, and take over, but one thing remained constant- the people were as dirty as the leader and vice-versa.

Modern emperors, age old theft
The new commissars in Beijing are no different than their paps. While professing to be the paragons of virtue, they go about looting the land, offshoring their cash, kid and wife, all the while clamoring for Mandarin morals. Nobody is fooled by this, of course, and the system continues much the same year after year.

In a sense, Xiaomi is little more than an indicator of an ancient Chinese philosophy, ‘take what you can but make it look legit’. Deng and Mao perfected this skill and their modern siblings are carrying the torch. Nobody seems to mind the fact that 90% of all Xiaomi offers is ‘borrowed’ or built upon ‘the work of others’. The fact is that in China today, like China of old, nobody really cares. After all, if it is good enough for the emperor, then it is good enough for his droogs.


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