What is it about mainland China that prevents the emergence of innovators like Steve Jobs? While in the West it seems obvious that a lack of free speech, free expression and free association puts China at a disadvantage, this editorial from Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po shows that Beijing still has a way to go before it accepts that in order to unleash the creative power of its people, it will have to loosen its grip.
The Wen Wei Po editorial says in part:
Facing unprecedented scientific and technological change and at this critical period of national revival, China has been able to sustain its rapid economic development. Now China is transforming itself from a ‘manufacturing country” to a “creative country.’
That is why China has such an urgent need for an innovative, Jobs-style, technological leader, in order to continue optimizing innovative thinking and bringing improvement and qualitative change to industry. In the last years of his life, Qian Xueshen [??], a leading Chinese scientist [who was one of the founders of America’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory] asked from the bottom of his heart, ‘Why does China always fail to cultivate outstanding talent?’ This is the famous “Qian Xueshen question.”
When it was time for Jobs to walk into history, Chinese Netizens were quick to ask, ‘Where is China’s Steve Jobs?’ The key is for Chinese society to become more liberal and provide a freer external environment so that innovative thinkers have ample space to flourish. On the other hand, entrepreneurs also need the innovative, progressive, and perseverant spirit of Jobs – and his courage to break barriers and adhere to the spirit of truth. If the two meet head-on, the birth of ‘China’s Steve Jobs’ will not be far off.
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