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Chinas new entrepreneurial class is growing -- and companies like McDonalds and KFC are vying to pick the best and brightest for their franchises In preparation for entering the World Trade Organization China is adopting standardized franchise regulations Now that China seems to be adopting the rule of law all sorts of good and entirely predictable things are happening on the trade front Among them Western companies are no longer afraid they will lose their trade secrets and brands if they offer franchises In fact those companies now are actively seeking out Western-educated entrepreneurs in China to become franchisees An article in last weeks Wall Street Journal profiles this new entrepreneurial movement The Journal is subscription only but luckily I found a reprint of the article with open access on the Bain Company website The first McDonalds franchisee in China Meng Sun a woman by the way is quoted in the article as saying Before people in China couldnt imagine being an entrepreneur They only tried to build large state-owned companies Ms Sun says But now its getting better as people see that even Bill Gates is an entrepreneur All of which goes to show that intellectual property rights and the rule of law that protects them are crucial to a thriving entrepreneurial culture The reference to Bill Gates has special meaning also Recently he was lambasted for suggesting -- in a rather poor choice of analogies -- that those who want to limit intellectual property rights are something like communists As clumsy as his comments were and as twisted out of context as they were taken there is a lot of truth to his words He said Id say that of the worlds economies theres more that believe in intellectual property today than ever There are fewer communists in the world today than there were There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid
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