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The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

8 Key Trends That Will Shape Doing Business in China in 2016

China changed a lot more than usual in 2015, and that bodes for a lot of change happening in 2016 as well. China’s economy is slowing and President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power, and both of these things will drive big changes in 2016.
The below are the eight key trends my firm’s China lawyers see gaining ground in China in 2016.
8 key China trends for 2016
8 key China trends that will impact doing business in China in 2016
1. China will increasingly crack down on foreign companies doing business in China (per China’s definition) without paying China taxes. China will especially step up enforcement against American and European companies that operate in China solely via a Hong Kong entity. See China’s Tax Authorities Want You.
2. The idea that Chinese companies and Chinese employees do not sue was never true and it is becoming less true every year. Chinese companies are getting aggressive in suing their foreign counterparts both within and outside China. If you walk away from your deal with a Chinese company orterminate your Chinese supplier, you should expect to get sued. The same holds true if you fire or lay off a Chinese employee without first getting them to sign a settlement and release agreement that will actually work in a Chinese court.
3. China’s crackdown on corruption is real and it will not be going away. The same holds true of U.S. and EU enforcement of anti-corruption laws against U.S. and EU companies operating in China. Chinese lawyers are actively looking for whistleblowers and Chinese employees (like employees everywhere) will not hesitate to turn in their employers for multimillion-dollar rewards.
4. Scams against foreign companies will continue to get more sophisticated. My personal “favorite” is the fake China law firm scam, which came back with gusto in 2015, but the most prevalent will no doubt continue to be the China bank switch scam.
5. Foreign companies will increasingly choose not to “go into China” via WFOE formations; they instead will choose to sell their products into China via distribution agreementsreseller agreements, and via e-commerce. Do you need a Chinese company to do business with China? But see #1 above.
6. There has been an increase in encouraging signs regarding enforcement of IP rights in China and we expect this will continue in 2016. China’s new Trademark Law not only increased statutory damages, it also makes it easier for an IP rights holder to prove damages against notorious counterfeiters. China design patents will become an increasingly important part of foreign companies’ IP arsenals as they have become relatively cheap to secure and they can provide substantial protections.
7. E-commerce in China will continue its meteoric rise and this means foreign companies seeking to protect IP from China will employ anti-infringement strategies that include registering IP in China (particularly trademarks, copyrights, and design patents), monitoring Chinese websites, and ongoing interaction with Chinese e-commerce sites like Alibaba,, and
8. China will continue pressing its One Belt, One Road policy. This policy emphasizes China using overland routes to increase trade with Central Asia and Europe, and it seems designed to be an end run around the United States and the TPP. We see this as part of an overall trend of China encouraging more inbound and outbound trade with non-U.S. companies and we see U.S. companies reacting to this by running more of their China business through non-U.S. subsidiaries.