The Chinese Recipe – Bold and Smart

On December 4th, the screening of The Chinese Recipe – Bold and Smart, a film by the Swiss Director Jürg Neuenschwander took place in Aurora Museum, Shanghai. 

“If you are not copied you’re not worth a penny!” Jürg Neuenschwander takes us to China’s colorful world of entrepreneurs who follow the Chinese recipe of non-stop progress in which there is no “original” but only continuous development. You take what has been invented, develop it further, adapt it to specific user needs, allow the competitors to copy and enhance it and then integrate the innovations back into your own products. Everything is in a constant state of flux. Xiaohui Zhou’s Happy Buying Electronics Company builds audio systems “better than the original”, built according to blueprints found on the Internet and high-end parts from rubbish tips. Swiss engineering company Bühler teams up with Chinese copiers Baolong based on the motto: fusion rather than patent disputes. Young drone designers from the remote Guizhou Province use hacker methods and open source systems to fight their way to California’s Silicon Valley where they are first refused but soon charmed by global production and marketing and then instantly dive into new market adventures. 

Before the film, there was an apero for all of our audience. Wines and water-mouthing snacks were offered. People chatted with each other and enjoyed a quality time.

Around 19:00, Mr. Alexander Hoffet, the Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai delivered an opening speech, in which he highly recommended this documentary. Then the most yielding time came—the film screening finally began.  

Luckily we had Mr. Xiaohui Zhou (the audio equipment maker), Mr. Ruilin Wang (executive of Baolong) and Kada from the drone makers’ team, who are the main characters of the documentary in our screening room. After the film, they shared interesting stories happened during the shooting. The director told the audience that he spent nearly 15 months with these entrepreneurs to record their story, which means he did not complete the shooting once but marched on with their progress. “ Aw, it’s you again. Why do you bother? Chinese TV station can always finish it in one time.” Xiaohui said during one shooting. Heard that, the whole room broke into laughter.       

Several audiences also exchanged their views with the director. Copyright issues, film budget control, and people networking… so many intriguing topics peppered that night. 

Juerg Neuenschwander is a Swiss independent documentary film director, film producer and founding member of Container TV AG for film and television in Bern, Switzerland. He is a media consultant and lecturer in film and audiovisual design; director of short and feature-length documentary films, of artistic projects and interactive Multimedia productions.

Feature-length documentaries

The Chinese Recipe: bold and smart (2012-2015)

Sooner or later (früher oder später, 2000-2003)

Encounters on the Milky Way (Q – Begegnungen auf der Milchstrasse, 1998-2000)

The Power of Healing (Kräuter und Kräfte, 1994-1995)

An injection never comes alone (Shigatse – eine Spritze kommt selten allein, 1989-1990)

My Mother is in Sri Lanka (1986, co-directed with Remo Legnazzi)

- Contributed by Jingyan Yang, Junior Project Leader at swissnex China