A Silicon Dragon tech economy began in 2002 with Chinese returnees – so-called sea turtles who came home to lay their eggs – who cloned Google, YouTube, and Amazon, grabbed Sand Hill Road money, and scored on NASDAQ and the NYSE. Today, homegrown Chinese entrepreneurs are snapping up venture capital from Chinese currency funds for even more clones – Beijing techie Wang Xing alone has cloned Facebook, Twitter, and a Chinese GroupOn.
The needle is gradually moving from “made in China” to “invented in China.” Micro-innovations tweaked for the local culture are cropping up more often. Sina’s Weibo, a hybrid Twitter-Facebook, layered in video and photo sharing before Twitter did. The long-awaited promise of disruptive technology from China is coming, too, symbolized by China’s climb to fourth place worldwide for new patent applications.