Chinese Fintech – Real or Another Copycat?

Debate Rages on About the Source of Chinese Fintech Innovation

Here’s a very interesting question. Is China’s fintech sector ‘counterfeit’? China is well known for its “copy-cat” and fake knockoffs like watches, clothing, Apple stores (yeah, really) and they even (gasp) duplicated Goldman Sachs. Now that’s gutsy. So, fake fintech? You think all those Chinese at MIT, Stanford, Berkeley are tourists? Just saying.
(Bill Taylor/CEO)

“The number of counterfeit products pumped out of China is unprecedented. Their total value adds up to $1.2 trillion, which accounts for 63.2% of the world’s total. Chinese make fake Gucci clothing and Cartier watches, open Apple stores that aren’t authorized retailers and have even duplicated global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

So whether China’s technology sector is another pirated import is a fair question. And the answer isn’t black and white. “China never really stopped being a copycat, and that’s why its tech companies aren’t changing the world,” read the headline of an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post in April. The article said:

“Innovation and creativity are not rewarded in the Chinese commercial or educational sectors, which emphasize rapidly monetizing activities and rote learning.

“Obeying authorities ensures stability and eventual success. Gaining favors from regulators and party elites are the surest path to good fortune. Unfortunately, it is precisely this type of closed minded thinking coupled with cronyism and exclusive capitalism with Chinese characteristics that will continue to kill innovation and stifle creative thinking across China.
“That explains why China’s big internet companies are basically copies of their western counterparts. It also explains why their tech giants aren’t changing the rest of the world. …”

…Regardless of whether China’s financial technology, or fintech, sector is real or fake, it’s huge and growing fast. Fintech, or the use of technology to make financial services more efficient, is making banking and finance cheaper and more accessible to billions of people in China and abroad.”

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