China Insists Doing its Fair Share to Stamp Out Global Piracy

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By Erik Pineda | November 12, 2012 3:58 PM EST

China is unfairly portrayed as the epicentre of global piracy, a top Chinese official said on Sunday, insisting that there was a misconception and Western media firms are to blame.

According to Tian Lipu, the Chinese government top man for the State Intellectual Property Office, "China's intellectual property rights protection image has been distorted by Western media."

Speaking to news reporters in one of the side events of China's Communist Party Congress, Mr Tian bemoaned that key Chinese cities have made headlines around the world as source of counterfeit products - from designer goods to computer software.

"We don't deny (this problem), and we are continuing to battle against it . . . Speaking honestly, there is a market. People use and buy pirated goods," the Chinese official was reported by Reuters as saying.

But what were overlooked by the international news media, he stressed, is Beijing's ongoing efforts to uphold intellectual property rights and to stem the flow of pirated products purportedly produced and exported from China.

Mr Tian challenged an earlier assessment issued by the U.S.-based Business Software Alliance which showed that some 80 per cent of computer softwares used in China are pirated copies, asserting that in "our government offices, our banks, our insurance companies, our firms . . . the software is all real."

"China is the world's largest payer for patent rights, for trademark rights, for royalties, and one of the largest for buying real software," Mr Tian said.

It's just unfortunate, he lamented, that most in the Western world was not aware of this fact because news organisations in these nations opted to ignore the other side of the coin.

Tens of billions have been lost on the so-called global black markets that affect both physical and digital products, with the bulk of the copyright infringements likely occurring in emerging markets like China and Russia, Reuters said.

But Mr Tian begged to disagree that China is safe haven for hawkers of pirated goods, adding that on the contrary, the country encourages the production of high-quality products that global consumers have come to love and enjoy.

He pointed to the now ubiquitous smartphones and tablet computers, popular brands of which from Apple and Samsung, were being mass produced in sprawling Chinese production facilities with millions of Chinese workers putting together the gadgets.

In particular, Apple devices that are manufactured in China and exported to the United States increase their value prior to being released in global markets, an arrangement that inarguably redounds to benefit of U.S. firms like Apple, Mr Tian explained.

"(And) this could only happen because China's intellectual property rights environment sets foreign investors at ease allowing them to come to China to manufacture," the Chinese official pointed out.

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