Professor Wu Jie: Entrepreneurship, Chinese-style

wu-jie_450Wu Jie, Professor of Digital Media at Tongji University, Shanghai

The years during which Jürg Neuenschwander spent most of his time in China were the years after the Olympic Games, which marked a turning point in China’s relationship with the West. It was no longer a case of simply importing technology, but about collaborating. And it was no longer a case of out-and-out shanzhai – i.e. copying – but about optimizing functionalities. It was also no longer a time of Chinese brands being bought up, but of independent Chinese brands beginning to establish themselves. These are precisely the changes that Neuenschwander captures in his latest documentary, The Chinese Recipe – Bold and Smart.

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Betty Liu: Innovation from China – The Next Big Thing!

Betty_Liu_450Betty Liu, journalist

Borrow, but do not “copy.”
Upgrade, but do not make the same mistakes.

China is still generally viewed as a country where everything is shanzhai, or copied. The latest film by Swiss director Jürg Neuenschwander also seems, at first glance, to be dealing with this subject. But in reality, it is actually a film about the Chinese makers who are bubbling over with hope and inspiration. Neuenschwander takes an extremely impartial, open look at the culture, society, history, and economy that lie behind China’s shanzhai/copying phenomenon. I believe that this is a good opportunity for both Chinese and Western audiences to take a fresh look at the topic of shanzhai/copying.

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Professor Hans-Georg Knopp – It’s not that Simple

hansgeorgknopp-450Professor Hans-Georg Knopp is a cultural scholar, former secretary-general of the Goethe Institute in Munich, and former director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. He lives in Shanghai.

The Chinese copy stuff! Sure, everyone knows that, and the topic is often discussed with a certain malice and arrogance – as if the only thing people in China can do is copy things that were invented elsewhere.

And so the films that everyone knows and that are shown everywhere also focus on the products. We often get to see the goods that are exact replicas of the originals. In fact, Germany even has a kind of “award” for product piracy – though it’s actually designed to shame the people who make these products. “Theft” and “piracy” are the keywords here.

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Markus Mugglin – Insight into an Unfamiliar China

Markus_Mugglin-450Markus Mugglin, business journalist, former managing editor on the SRF show Echo der Zeit

If someone copies your product, you shouldn’t complain – you should feel honored. After all, Chinese managers, developers, and startup entrepreneurs only copy drones, audio equipment, and feed mills if they rate the quality highly.

This is the subject of the film The Chinese Recipe – Bold and Smart. It provides unfamiliar perspectives on a subject about which Western companies often complain. Theft of intellectual property, product piracy, underhanded imitation – these are not terms used by the Chinese. Although they do adopt existing technologies, they also develop them further. What the West deplores, they see in a positive light. Or, as the entrepreneur Kong says in the film:

“If someone copies you, it means what you have is high quality and worth copying. If your products aren’t copied, they’re not worth a penny.”

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Qiongma – A Fresh, Very Special Sound

QiongmaQiongma, playwright, screenwriter, ophthalmologist

Thanks to his objective, relaxed view of the world and to his minimalistic, pared-down style, he succeeds in capturing “real life.” His keen, yet extremely delicate observation delivers a deep insight into reality. This style has been the director’s trademark for some time, and is also very much to the fore in this film.

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Professor Hua Dong – Chineseness

Hua dongBy Hua Dong, Professor of Inclusive Design

I enjoyed every minute of The Chinese Recipe. The film is structured and edited in such a way that it engages the audience for the full 90 minutes. I think both Chinese and non-Chinese audiences will find something that interests them in this film.

It is surprising that a foreign director can capture so much Chineseness and can show the Chinese spirit so well. The film reflects reality, and is energetic and positive. I will warmly recommend it to all of my friends.

Feedback from young people sent via the WeChat social media tool directly after a screening of the film in Guiyang

Linya: First, I would like to thank the director for showing us such a great film. As we journey through life, we just have to hold onto our dreams. We must not give up on them – that way, heaven will help us make them a reality! Stay hungry! Stay foolish! When I see stories about people like this, it makes me conscious of my own life.

Hamu: It doesn’t matter whether you’re an entrepreneur or just a normal person – doing your own thing under your own steam, and allowing yourself to be driven by your interests is the most important thing. Whether or not it then becomes something big, whether or not it has an impact – that always becomes clear later. Perhaps this is the “feeling” that the world demands of you.

Yelang Hou: The Chinese Recipe – Bold and Smart is a documentary that shows Chinese people from three different generations, and the people they come into contact with. It is the story of people who hold onto their dreams in the magnificent times in which we are living. You could stick different labels on these people: private initiative, innovation, craftspeople, geeks, global outlook. I am grateful to the director, Jürg Neuenschwander, for so realistically documenting these Chinese people who are doing things their own way with such innovation and entrepreneurism. It is a miniature snapshot of history. Now is the perfect time to realize your dreams!

Liang: Democratizing technology – a really, really great idea!

Yiqiu: This film is really interesting. It shows us in a completely different context.

Kada Liao: Every person is a drop of water in the river of history. If you are part of the maker movement, you want to realize your dream and thereby make your mark at a really young age. Regardless of whether or not you succeed, these experiences are extremely precious. I am grateful to Jürg Neuenschwander and his team for having made such a great documentary!

Tiger: When you are setting up a company, what is more important: innovation or luck?

Wang Dao:
Delight in life, yield to fate,
Enjoy life and create something great,
Carry water, chop down trees, chop down trees, carry water – nothing else.
Only heaven knows if it will have an effect.
Everyone slogs away, does what they have to do, reaps the results, follows nature.

Wang Yong: Never listen to what the others say. Do your own thing!