China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (they still have one of those) encourages industrial design as one of the six key modern service sectors that will receive priority support from the central government.
One of these support measures was the creation of a government-sponsored patent award, which “ aims to boost the nation’s intellectual property strategy and accelerate creation of proprietary intellectual property,” as Gasgoo put it.
FAW’s Besturn B70 was the only design patent to win a gold medal at the 11th China Patent Awards in Beijing. There is just a small niggling problem:
The Besturn B70 is based on the Mazda 6 (properly licensed by FAW). The car is hardly original, save for its front headlight array, which “broke the old design model and perfectly complemented the whole”, the awards appraisal said. Maybe they should have left the headlights alone. Wouldn’t have won any gold medals, but possibly more customers. “Chinese industrial design began in the 1980s and is still in an early stage of development, lagging far behind many developed nations,” says Gasgoo in its infinite wisdom. Onward to the next 5 year plan, due out in 2011.