It seems extraordinary now that Western travel brands were encouraged to "target" China and "make the most of the Chinese opportunity" - such was the naivety in the strategy that companies could simply bluster their way in.
As we've since seen with the growth (and ambition) of Ctrip and others, it was the homegrown talent that always was one step ahead and could do a lot more, eventually, outside of the China's walls.
In the early 2000s, a corner of Beijing now often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley – was mostly famous for its sprawling electronics markets.
There were several high-rise buildings, in which you could roam vast open floors connected by narrow escalators and packed with stalls selling everything from cameras to TVs, DVD players to toasters, dancing Santas to neon dildos.
Some items were made by major, household brands such as Samsung, Nokia, and Canon; many more of them were knock-off products, with names creatively similar to the “real” thing.
Most of the time, the electronics were assembled in China; almost never were they invented in China.
This image is still deeply ingrained in the western imagination – that of the industrious “copycat” nation