China holds lead in clean energy

Today while flying from Hong Kong to Paris I read a very interesting article in the New York Times (which I subsequently found online here).  The premise of the article is that the clean energy industry is growing by leaps and bounds, costs for solar panels and wind turbines are going down, and that millions of jobs are being created.  Yet although everyone agrees the world needs more clean energy, due to a complex maze of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules regulating subsidies, not everyone is happy about how this growth is occurring.

It is no surprise that China wants to be a major player in the clean energy field.  For starters, with its large population that is increasingly becoming wealthier and using more and more energy, renewable and clean sources of energy are more important here than almost anywhere else.

From an economic standpoint, China also recognizes that clean energy – solar and wind especially for now – is becoming big business, and they are determined to be a major player.  From an education stand point, China simply graduates more engineers each year than anywhere else on earth.  The clean energy industry is a perfect landing pad for these smart and hungry university graduates.

To help grow the clean energy industry in China, the central and local governments are increasingly lending support to entrepreneurs who have big plans for massive factories building solar panels and wind turbines.  The factory of Hunan Sun-Zone Optoelectronics in Changsha (potentially going IPO in 2012 so keep your eye on it!) is a perfect example.   Since the clean energy industry is considered strategic in China, Sun-Zone was able to line up financing and received all permits in 3 months and from there it took only 8 more months to build and equip the factory.

If you’re interested in the details of the clean energy trade and how the industry is shaping up, I thought the New York Times article did a great job of summing up the current situation.  Here is the link.

1 Comment for “China holds lead in clean energy”

  1. Hi Marshall, interesting observations.

    While China has been recognized over the last couple of years as a leader in manufacturing and implementation of greentech products and systems, most of the ‘top line’ innovation is coming out of America, Australia and Europe. There is a lot of thought, energy and money now being invested in ‘Indigenous Innovation’ in China. The country and people have some significant cultural barriers to overcome in achieving industrial-scale creativity, not least of which are a rote memory centered educational system and a legacy of rigid heirarchy in organizations.

    The central governments efforts to promote innovation has been complemented over the last half-decade (or more) by an influx of Silcon Valley venture capitalists, bringing money and expertise in commercializing innovation. The growing trend of western-educated Overseas Returnees, bridging western critical thinking with Chinese sensibilities, further contributes to the potential for success. I’m sure there are emerging examples of successful indigenous innovation in greentech and other industries.

    The Chinese government and people are undoubtedly motivated by the urgency of the need for improvements in environmental stewardship and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. It seems to me that a key factor in the implementation success that China has achieved in GreenTech is the efficiency of their government in acting upon policy. The Chinese leadership are not encumbered in delivering bold and visionary policy goals by legislators whose primary interest is the next primary, or the next mid-term elections.

    With a country so large there are still numerous administrative challenges in implementing and enforcing policy. However, when the central government in China articulates a set of goals and invests resources towards them, action will almost certainly follow – with purpose and momentum.

Comments are closed

The Contributor

Marshall has been living in China for the past 7 years, starting off in Tianjin before making his way to Shenzhen. Marshall is employed by Gloucester, Massachusetts based TradeStone Software as an Implementation Manager, in the retail PLM space. In his free time, Marshall enjoys staying up to date on the latest IT trends, spending time with his wife Hong Xia and sons Max and Spencer as well as helping out at the Cheers Bar and Jordons Bar in Shekou, which is owned and operated by family and friends.

    Connect with Marshall:
  1. - Email: Click here

Have Your Say!

Where is your favorite holiday destination in SEA?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

  1. Etienne Ducrot: Hi, I’m interested to contact this Foundation. Do you know how? Thanks. Etienne
  2. Emma: Hi Jasmin, I’ve read your article about a new medical center opens in Nanshan at the end of this month....
  3. sherry lee: A simple story with great words…I love it.
  4. Evangeline: Awesome piece!
  5. Glenda: Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.