Technology companies and other industrial firms are used to guarding against the theft of intellectual property by unscrupulous businesses in developing countries.
But the latest audacious rip-off to emerge from China strikes at the heart of America's favorite pastime - television.
A popular sitcom is accused of copying classic U.S. series such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.
The show, iPartment, adheres the old sitcom trope of following a group of 20-something friends as they experience life in a big city.
But sharp-eyed fans have noticed that the series seems to be uncomfortably close to some specific American hits.
The stars of the series live together in two neighboring apartments in a tower block - exactly the situation in Friends, but with New York transferred to Shanghai.
One of the characters is a university lecturer, and another a radio host - not a world away from palaeontologist Ross and actor Joey.
The bizarre parallels led to an online backlash from Chinese watchers of iPartment, who took to micro-blogs to express their anger and post screenshots and video clips highlighting the similarities.
'Many lines and scenes have been completely ripped off from American shows,' a web user named Grace told the Global Times.
'I thought it was shameful to do this. It is an insult to the American TV producers and an insult to the screenwriters and producers of original Chinese TV shows.'
Another incredulous fan wrote, 'Is [iPartment] only intended for those born after 1990, who have not watched Friends?', according to the Daily Telegraph.
While the show has been on the air since 2009, it has recently started to reach a much wider audience after being picked up by leading cable networks.
Last weekend, producers were forced to admit taking ideas from others, as they publicly apologized for using a comedian's jokes without attribution, and offered to compensate him for the plagiarism.
However, a spokesman for the program denied stealing from Western shows - and instead blamed the similarities on a lack of imagination in resorting to sitcom clichés.
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