The CIP hypothesis is the result of a discussion between Marius van Bergen and Dirk-Willem van Gulik. It started when they asked themselves the question whether optimization and innovation are valid parameters for evaluating the success of Chinese brands.

An interesting observation is that software plays an increasingly important role in the field of electronics.

Modern software is more about the optimization of craftsmanship than about innovation. It is what the “Silicon Valley literati” and agile-devoted startups expect from the “ Silicon Valley scribes”, i.e. begin with copying from stack overflow. Software is often free and easy to copy and paste, as opposed to social skills.

By consequence, the hardware also becomes easier to copy and paste, in which case innovation loses much of its fashionable appeal. The services sector also largely relies on software.

The question then becomes: is China’s Innoflection Point the moment when optimization becomes innovation or the moment when innovation becomes optimization of the higher end of the value chain.

Either way, as the Chinese are masters of copying and optimization and skilled networkers at that, the West needs to prepare for more Chinese brands entering their lives.

Marius is the founder of Chinglish B.V., a private company that is in the process of reinventing itself. He divides his time between helping Chinese companies think about branding and Western companies do business in China.

Dirk-Willem is a founder of the Apache Software Foundation. He was involved in building Chinglish Old and Chief Technical Architect at the BBC.