Successful Cleantech Cooperation in China

International business cooperation with China is nothing new. It has been growing rapidly for over 30 years and covers, in varying degrees, every industrial and consumer sector in China. What is more recent, though, is the growing pull of cooperation with China for cleantech entrepreneurs, investors and solution providers. Much of this pull is to tap China’s well-known cost and supply chain advantages that have been driving much of the country’s industrial growth and foreign-direct investment into China for many years. However, cleantech firms are also flocking to China to access opportunities not available in their home countries, including to:

  • Participate in large and growing cleantech market opportunities in China— including cleaner energy demand growth, efficient commodities consumption, massive urbanization, and reducing dirty and harmful waste emissions, and
  • Leverage the cooperation opportunities and incentives that can help navigate the “valley of death” and speed up getting technologies and products commercialized—including innovative research, robust industrial infrastructure, available capital and finance, government financial and business incentives—which often are not available in their home countries.

China has the need (energy and consumption, and pollution and resource constraints), the intent (clear national policy direction), and the tools (capital, incentives, industrial and manufacturing infrastructure) to continue driving cleantech opportunities. China is clearly focused on developments in cleantech not only for domestic purposes, but also for leadership and competitive advantage globally across the cleantech spectrum—be it cleaner and renewable supplies of energy, conservation and efficient use of water and natural resources, or smarter and cleaner transpiration, or smarter agriculture and food safety. Key findings of this report include:

  • Government policy and spending is creating cleantech opportunities across many cleantech sectors. More and more Western cleantech firms are investigating R&D, capital, finance, and industrial cost and speed advantages in China to fill the gaps in these areas that they are unable to close in their home countries
  • While certain cleantech sectors scored higher or lower on various criteria (e.g. homegrown innovation versus need for Western innovation), excellent opportunities are seen across the cleantech spectrum
  • Western cleantech companies face four main challenges in China: Building business relationships, intellectual property (IP) protection and legal issues, local competition and local talent management
  • Western cleantech companies can be successful but need to bring something to the table (e.g. talent, IP, Western market access) and need to localize properly
    (incl. lower costs, be flexible in fast changing markets)
  • Strategies for strong business relationships and effective IP management are highly related. Both require careful planning, ongoing assessment, and for long-term success rely on aligned goals and incentives of the Western and Chinese parties

Download report here.

You can return to the main Market News page, or press the Back button on your browser.