By now, everyone has likely seen some of the disturbing pictures of the heavy smog that is smothering the Chinese capital, Beijing. This environmental pollution is the unfortunate byproduct of many years of extensive manufacturing and production, all for the sake of economic growth and domination. Unfortunately, the millions of residents in this sprawling metropolis are now paying the price for this relentless oversight, with the potential health implications not yet fully understood.
In light of the severity of the issue and the global demand for responsible environmental practices, companies in China are teaming up with companies abroad to get a handle on the problem before it reaches epic and irreversible proportions. There seems to be an interesting partnership developing between China and Canada to combat the pollution and solve some of the lingering issues through the creation and introduction of clean-tech companies to the market.
Although there has been quite strong demand for clean-tech companies in China for some time now, there has not been much movement from international players in the industry. Of course, the primary reason for this hesitation concerns fears over the protection of intellectual property (IP), or rather, the likely lack thereof. Here is some insight into several of the important issues surrounding clean-tech in China:
Intellectual Property Protection
As just mentioned, the protection of valuable IP is a major concern for companies interested in delving into the Chinese market. In China, there simply is not the same sort of consistent and aggressive protections for IP. Even after China joined the World Trade Organization and its international counterparts continue to press it to strengthen its regulatory oversight relating to such matters, the country still has the notorious reputation for pirating and counterfeiting.
Hopefully, given Canada’s standing in the world and its commitment to fairness, integrity, and transparency, the partnership that is evolving between the two nations will help to further the requisite changes. If not, it is unlikely that their mutual clean-tech agenda will get very far. Regardless, companies that are willing to dabble into the Chinese business environment must ensure that they institute appropriate security measures to protect their IP assets.
Collaboration between countries is crucial to enforcing IP rights, but it is necessary to ensure that companies’ capital and other investments are adequately protected as well. In order to achieve this, it requires more than strong company partnerships. It will be necessary for company executives to engage government leaders and other individuals who are in the position to influence the formulation of policies. The world is continuing to shrink and environmental deterioration is a collective concern. Thus, insular economic approaches and practices simply will not suffice.
Many of the pressing problems that we are facing, environmental ones included obviously, are going to require a great deal of ingenuity and technological innovation to overcome. Of course, this means leveraging the knowledge, skills, and expertise that different players across the globe may possess. Therefore, it is only through the confluence of cross-border collaboration and strong IP protections that such innovation will ever truly occur. Both public and private actors must evaluate the manner in which this can be achieved in a mutually satisfactory fashion.