Firm Strategy and Industrial Development in China
Edited by Mariko Watanabe
Chapter 5: The wind turbine industry: the role of policy and markets in the catch-up process
Despite its image as a heavily polluted nation, China is making improvements in environmental protection through policy initiatives, and the rapid growth of wind power, a promising renewable energy source, has been remarkable. In 2010, China became the world leader in wind power with installed capacity of 44 780 MW, which accounts for 22.4 percent of the total worldwide capacity. China accomplished a sharp increase of wind power installation from just 12 600 MW of installed capacity in 2005. Interestingly, this rapid growth of wind power installation was accompanied by the outstanding growth of domestic wind turbine manufacturers. Before 2004, 76 percent of newly installed wind turbines were supplied by foreign manufacturers, and domestic manufacturers only had a small market share. However, in 2010, over 90 percent of the newly installed turbines was supplied by domestic manufacturers, a sharp contrast from just a few years ago. Wind power was introduced in Germany, the United States, and Denmark at the very beginning in the 1980s. Some labs in Chinese universities were also engaged in R & D. However, before 2005, only small devices (<750 kW) had been developed in China, and there was little technological background for MW-class turbines in China. Given this, technology transfer from foreign companies was the primary channel for domestic manufacturers to catch up with their foreign rivals.
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