China is not only a plagiariser but also an innovator
Many people have mistaken beliefs about China.
Western industry has provided a good deal/too much IP to Chinese industry in order that widgets can be bashed out more cheaply and render greater profits to the Western company. So don't go blaming all the evils on China.
One thing I discovered was a Do-It-Yourself IC kit. Definitely not a knock-off.
To use it you run up some free software, start checking boxes and linking others together, much as free Printed Circuit software works, and after saving it you then test the functionality with an associated, free, emulator.
Once you have settled on the design you e-mail the file to the factory and it makes 100-1000 pieces for your test purposes. We are not talking big bucks here - 100 pieces of one design cost me $40 + shipping.
My designs were for simple but much in demand items: a headlight modulator/flasher unit for motorcycles and the other was for a horn-button repeater (one-two-three beeps).
For an extremely small additional cost they mounted the IC dies, under black blobs of 'gue', on small PC boards on which the driver transistors, in one case, and the relay in the other, could be mounted.
The horn beeper was ordered in 500 lots whilst the headlamp modulator was only ordered in 200 lots because we had some heat/cooling challenges. Both sell well through accessory shops and keep two women and two men employed constructing and distributing them respectively.
More complex designs can be achieved by daisy-chaining two modules on a PCB.
Another design I saw was traffic light 'sets' interconnected by BlueTooth. Again, using a small software program, the traffic engineer inserts an intersection diagram of roads, marks off the traffic light positions which are automatically numbered. Insert desired timer delays, etc.
A matrix or table appears on the screen in which the light sequences are programmed through checking boxes. An emulator is activated and the lights illuminated to the selected sequence and it is capable of flagging conflicts, etc. Happy with design - shoot the file off to the distributor and a kit of parts, fully identified and programmed, is assembled and shipped.
A four road intersection, with pedestrian walking man signage, typically prices out around $100 - which compares to Western systems priced in the thousands of dollars and using old interconnecting cabling techniques.
This explains how many Chinese products realise economies when compared to the West, so whilst they might copy some designs there is definitely home grown ingenuity at work, too.