Korean scientists working in China have delivered the first cloned puppies in that country’s history. Yes, cloned puppies. Initially, the procedure was expected to take place in the scientists’ Korean facility, however, China, relatively new to capitalism and well aware of the PR potential in such a story, requested – rather stringently – that the delivery be made in their country.
Better still from a public relations perspective, the puppies to be delivered were Tibetan mastiffs, a breed absolutely revered in China as an undeniable symbol of wealth and status. Breeding mastiffs is a multimillion dollar enterprise for even a single top champion and the profit potential of actually cloning a top champion – not just breeding – rather stringently – is almost limitless.
Further underscoring the PR significance of the moment, China used the delivery of the cloned puppies to announce a collaborative effort between the successful Korean brand and its Chinese counterpart – their biotech research facility opening in 2015. The massive facility will operate as China’s first commercial animal cloning business. Although cloning is already happening in China, this operation drastically expands the business of biotech breeding.
Of course, pet cloning is just the tip of the biotech breeding iceberg. The company plans to breed working dogs for protection and police work as well as to begin cloning cows in order to meet the growing demand for beef in China. There is even talk of cloning a giant panda – a PR statement certainly poised to garner maximum attention for the operation. Not that this is just idle talk, the Chinese have been collecting cells from pandas for some time with the hope that cloning will become one more solution to the drastically depleted panda population.
Ethically, cloning remains a contentious topic in the United States, however, many other countries are watching these events with undisguised interest. The success of the Korean/Chinese operation could go a long way toward creating larger, cross-cultural acceptance for cloning in China and abroad.