China is working on a copy of the F 15 Eagle fighter jet, and they have named it J 16. This is just their latest known endeavor in copying Americans. In E commerce they have copied Twitter, Uber, Google, Ebay, etc. U.S.A has a machine on Mars. Quite a feat. Doesn't China need to be innovative too?

ANSWER: A2A. China is not a superpower. It has never proposed that it would become one. To be a superpower you need to be both economic and military dominance that it projects its power over areas and countries far beyond its own borders. To date modern China has maintained its military strictly for the defence of its territory.

OK, let’s talk about copying & imitating in business. Does this happen world wide? Yes, it happens everyday in every country. In business we have a euphemism called - "being competitive”. It consists of the practise of imitating what your competition is doing successfully. You see this literally everyday, and it has been going on since business strategy was created. In your country is there only ONE hamburger or chicken or coffee or drugstore chain or cable TV network or one smart phone that has different features than all the other ones? NO, because 95% of the time business all over the world function by imitating success and 5% of the time they are disruptors and innovate something different.

When Japan auto industry nearly killed the US auto industry in the later part of 20th century; did they reinvent cars? NO. They improved the quality of what US manufacturers had designed to give the consumer what they wanted, and what they wanted was Japanese cars, not American ones, which forced US car manufacturers copy Japanese manufacturers. IRONIC, isn’t it?

A number of people believe Apple is not a company that invents. Rather it takes what others have already invented and applies those things in a different way. Yet Apple is rated by many as innovative.

To a degree what China has done to date is similar to what Japan did in the 1970’s and for the next 30 odd years. China is the world’s factory in large measure because it can produce things in great volume and at lower overall cost compared to others, giving western businesses & multi-national companies higher profit margins.

As for copying search engines and eBay, a search engine is a search engine. In China, Baidu is built entirely on the domestic cultural norms and expectations. Why would a western approach be valued in China? It takes a basic search engine algorithm and customizes the customer experience.

This is why McDonalds, Home Depot, Walmart and few others are failing in China. They are failing in China because they are not delivering what the local public wants to buy. As a social network WeChat in China is far superior to Facebook. QQ is superior to Skype for long distance calling and video chats. A number of software may not have originated in China; but they improved upon it and more importantly monetized it.

Innovation is process that builds on a foundation that already exists.

As to innovative, perhaps this is news to some -

China has built the fastest supercomputer in the world for several years now. Currently it’s 5 times faster that the fastest US computer; and it was designed in China with Chinese manufactured chips.

Scientific American rates China as the 2nd best country for science.
In a collaborative endeavour between Chinese and Austrian Academy of Sciences, China launched the first quantum satellite this year.

China is ranked 2nd in nanotechnology research.
China operates 20,000 kms of high speed railroad, all domestically built.
According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development: China is the largest exporter of technology.

In summary after China decided to switch economic direction towards a customized free enterprise model it began following the basic business methods of imitating success and then created added value first by being able to produce at lower costs and later by modifications. In the process it has been able to drive GDP growth.

Source: QUORA