Concept of the exhibition red dot on tour in Beijing
A „best of selection“ of award-winning products and works from all three competition disciplines at the same time, the “red dot award: product design”, the “red dot award: communication design”, and the “red dot award: design concept”, is being presented

China aims for role as international design super power

A dynamic business location, one of the largest economic markets in the world, best prognoses for economic growth – while Western economies are suffering from the ongoing financial crisis, China has dramatically caught up and faces a promising future. The transformation from newly industrialising country to industrial power is now to take place also on other levels: instead of continuing to merely serve as a manufacturing country for products designed in the Western world, China aims to expand its significant role in the world’s economic market with its own designs and innovations in future, thus becoming a serious competitor of its previous clients from Western countries.

The industrialised nations have been valuing China as an economic partner above all when it comes to quick and cost-effective production. In addition, many Chinese companies reinforce this existing image by taking their inspiration for the manufacturing of their own products from foreign designs, often producing exact copies of them. Under the motto “Innovation instead of Imitation” the Chinese government now wants to provide essential impulses for the development of its own creative industries, providing generous government incentives for this purpose. Improving the design training was declared a national priority; universities are currently expanding their design faculties and design has established itself as one of students’ most popular field of study. The focus here is on an interdisciplinary combination of design work and profitable marketing. The government’s efforts are bearing fruit already: business magazine BusinessWeek lists two Chinese universities among the best design study programmes worldwide, one of them the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing.

“The Chinese government and several companies have understood the additional potential an investment in design has for the economic development of the whole country,” says design expert Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator of the red dot design award and Icsid senator, explaining the government’s plan, and he warns: “We must not underestimate the planned developments. While incentives for the creative industries are increasingly cut here, China is willing to invest millions – and that will pay off soon.”

International co-operations are to advance the development of China as a location for creative industries. Parallel to this year’s Icograda World Design Congress in Beijing, the “Beijing Design Week” will take place for the first time. In order to present the best design achievements worldwide as well as the trends of the design industry, red dot was invited to present a “best of selection” of award-winning products and works from all three competition disciplines at the same time, the “red dot award: product design”, the “red dot award: communication design”, and the “red dot award: design concept”. The exclusive exhibition will be on show from 24 October to 1 November 2009 at the Beijing Art Museum, which is located in the China Millennium Monument and is one of the most spectacular and important exhibition and event venues in China. Design expert Peter Zec will hold a lecture on the subject “Return on Ideas. Better by Design” at the opening of the “Beijing Design Week”. “The fact that the winning products and works of the red dot design award have been chosen to represent international design standards at the Icograda World Design Congress in China, thus serving as a model for design globally, again confirms the quality of our design competition”, says Zec.

Since the 1990s, red dot has successfully pursued the goal of continually developing and intensifying contacts with the Asian region. A variety of red dot projects such as the special exhibition “red dot meets creative asia” in Shenzhen and the contract signed a the beginning of the year between red dot and the Beijing Industrial Centre (BIDC) are part of the strategy to advance design promotion as an economic success factor in China and to promote communication between international, design-oriented companies and the Chinese industry. The Beijing Industrial Design Centre as well as the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and the Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group are co-organisers of the Icograda World Design Congress and the simultaneously held “Beijing Design Week”.

About the red dot design award

With more than 12,000 entries from more than 60 nations the red dot design award, the origins of which date back to 1955, is one of the largest and most renowned design competitions in the world today. It is divided into the different disciplines “red dot award: product design”, “red dot award: communication design” and “red dot award: design concept“, which has been held annually in Singapore since 2005.


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Miriam Märthesheimer
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Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen
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