China may not be a world leader in creating new technology, but when it comes to blatantly replicating another's work, it undoubtedly is the best.
News is out that Chinese automaker LandWind has launched a new automobile that is the exact replica of Land Rover's world-renowned Range Rover Evoque.
Called the X7, the replica vehicle looks every bit the same as the original, but has a cheap Mitsubishi engine under the hood. Also, it sells for a rather modest £14,000 ($22,000) per unit, which is more than half of the original Range Rover's $50,000 plus price tag.
Not content with just copying the British manufacturer's work, LandWind rubbed its nose in it even more by unveiling their replica at the same Guangzhou motor show in China last week where the original Range Rover Evoque was also on display.
As expected, the Range Rover Evoque's makers aren't impressed and are threatening to take action. But if history is any guide, it isn't going to do them any benefits.
This is what Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth had to say about the incident:
"The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing. The simple principal is that it is not something that should happen; the Intellectual Property is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations that apply around the world. As a company we have invested heavily in China with our joint venture partner Chery. That commitment is based on a clear business plan, that allows us to hit our sales targets at clear prices. Anything that damages the potential profitability of our plant damages the integrity of those plans.
"I will talk to our officials and I will talk to our partners at Chery to find a way around this situation. I cannot imagine Chinese officials will be happy at any actions that undermine the credibility of the country. What we have seen today is not correct."
While laws to protect Intellectual property rights do exist in China, they are rarely enforced. Illegal industries are raided and culprits nabbed occasionally, but critics feel Beijing's response remains far from adequate. The counterfeit product market actually means a lot to the local economy, which is primarily the reason the authorities deliberately condone it despite international pressure.