Towards "Designed in China"
China has long been considered as the epitome of attractive production conditions, so that the "Middle Kingdom" was stylised as the "workbench of globalisation". Trademark counterfeiting as "Nokir", "Samsing" or "Fuma" and professional art forgeries from Shenzhen made the rounds. Although the respectful imitation - called Shanzhai - permeates the entire Chinese society, companies increasingly recognise that copying is not a solution for a successful corporate culture. At the same time, a counterweight to successful western brands is ought to be created.
Ever since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1998, the Chinese market is characterised by an increasing variety of consumer products. Thus, design has become a new importance. This is evidenced by numerous government initiatives: for example, more than 1,400 colleges and universities offer art and design courses. The graduates of these universities have to face the challenge to find an own design language. Although a tea set can be seen as typically Chinese, a universal design development is limited by the Cultural Revolution. In comparison, today's western brand culture would not be possible, besides economic progress, without the history of ideas of the original, the understanding of the artist as a genius and consequently the individual as a creator.
Leading companies which already implement technological progress in a new product language are, among others, the mobile phone manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE, the electronics group TCL and Lenovo: In 2013, the computer manufacturer was the first Chinese company to be chosen “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year”. The "Lenovo Design & User Experience Team" was awarded for its unique forms and applications, and also in the creative use of original materials unseen before in notebooks and tablets. Already in 2007, the Haier Group has played a pioneering role. It was the first Chinese company ever which was awarded in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. At that time, the prize-winning washing machine convinced with its innovative touch control and a fully developed washing technology consisting of two pulsators.