Shenzhen: A New Breed of Intellectual Property | Future Cities | WIRED

Future Cities is part of a new flagship documentary strand from WIRED Video that explores the technologies, trends and ideas that are changing our world.

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In this third episode of our Future Cities strand, we explore how attitudes in Shenzhen about patents and intellectual property differ to those in the West.

In particular, we look at how the evolution of “shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has created an ecosystem that could transform traditional models of business, distribution and innovation. Although, technically, any knock-off goods can be called shanzhai, the word’s meaning has recently shifted to refer to electronic goods, and episode three delves behind the scenes of this business culture.

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