pwm2 wrote in post #16695474
The main thing is when a country have a well-established grid of universities, has access to investment money, and have enough population that can afford buying premium-grade products.
When a country fulfills the above requirements, they have reached the level where it is meaningful for them to start producing own high-tech products. They still have the ability long before, but it just isn't meaningful to try without having the buyers. And foreign-educated skilled labour can't start until someone believes in them and invests the money.
China already have all the required infrastructure for going wild and crazy with new high-tech products, even if they also still have cheap labour and can perform low-cost production for customers expecting low-quality products.
They totally lack any kind of innovation or any sense of aesthetics - both very important in high-end goods.
Looking at what they produce, they're very good at taking what already exists and manufacturing it on a huge scale, sometimes with some minor tweaks, e.g. making it cheaper or simpler to produce, or a minor performance improvement. The resulting product performs to specification - and that's just about all you can say. It does the job. It tends to be completely utilitarian, with no sense of aesthetics or design (obviously not particularly applicable to cameras, but very applicable in things like home appliances and cars). Alternatively, it's something designed on an aesthetic level by someone from outside China, then mass-produced there.
But when was the last time you saw an innovative new Chinese product - a Chinese iPhone, 5D2 or Model T Ford? Not in the past hundred years - it's always someone else's idea, copied and manufactured on a huge scale. When did you last see a product desirable for its style as well as function, that was both designed and produced in China, by Chinese-trained and educated people - a Chinese Maserati, IWC or Burberry? From what I see - and I've dealt with a lot of Chinese-trained staff - the education system there doesn't lend itself to innovation or aesthetics, merely to speed, efficiency and economy in carrying out someone else's idea. The engineers and web designers trained there are very quick and very efficient into putting someone else's design together and getting it working. But put them to work in designing something original, or even coming up with an original concept, and the results are, almost invariably, poor. And it's going to take a lot more than a burgeoning middle class to change that.