When the Chinese internet giant QQ released Fanfou a few years ago many criticized it as an obvious clone to twitter. The same again happened with the launch of Watwet the Jordanian startup. After all, at first glance the sites do look a lot like twitter. Maktoob, the company behind the Arab internet success story was always described as the Yahoo of the Middle East because of the very similar services it provided. It didn’t come much of a surprise when Yahoo actually acquired the company in 2009.
But is localizing an existing product or business idea imitation or art, and does that limit innovation or actually requires it?