China’s Cleantech Initiatives Debated

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By Shirley Liu

BEIJING, Mar. 17 – Several organizations involved in cleantech initiatives in China including China Entrepreneurs, China Cleantech Focus, Camco, Cleantech Thursdays, and China Greentech Initiative hosted an event last night in Beijing to discuss the future of green energy in China.

The 3rd Annual Cleantech Investor Panel, held at the Kerry Center in Beijing, was sponsored in part by China Briefing and featured renowned panelist Ellen G Carberry, co-managing director of The China Greentech. Ms. Carberry introduced the China Greentech Initiative to the audience with a brief  presentation. She said the China Greentech 2009 report was a “brand new Bible for the green energy market; a tough market, too big, wide and deep to sail alone without stabilizing alliances for cooperation with other companies.”

The keynote address was followed by a debate between the panelists Anders Brendstrup (managing director of Camco China), Simon Parker(chief executive officer of DP Cleantech Group Ltd.), Kevin Yin (partner of GSR Ventures), Ian Zhu (partner of Tsing Capital), and hosted by the China Cleantech focus President Eric L. Schmidt. The panel discussed several key topics regarding the cleantech market in China.

Is China’s government committed to green energy?
Panelists agreed on the real commitment of the government on this aspect and how important it is for the environment, considering that the United States is four times more efficient with their energy use than China. Or Japan, which is seven times more efficient. Another thought is that the Chinese aim of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent would represent an amount equivalent to the total annual emission of Germany.

The efforts of the Chinese government were praised by their underlining the fact that four out of the seven industries being promoted at the moment by the state are green-tech.

About this necessary change, Anders Brendstrup stated that it “is something that will happen step by step and sector by sector.” They also gave an overview of how important and how much these companies rely on governmental subsidies granted by the Chinese government “in order to attract foreign knowledge and learn more about their practice.”

What are the main challenges for investors?
Investors should take into account how big this market is and how many shades it has. They need to be wise selecting which sector they’re developing their strategy and be aware of how necessary it is to be surrounded by experience and knowledge from partners, since it’s always the way to reduce costs in terms of money and time.

As the panelists remarked, it is imperative for companies to be flexible and be able to adapt to a fast and constantly changing market.

Which sector is developing fastest at the moment?
A key sector at this moment is the usage of clean energy in agriculture – in particular the development of a sustainable organic agriculture. Given that the Chinese way of life is changing and the way of eating is changing as well, Chinese agriculture is not efficient enough. Ian Zhu presented many investments from companies pointing to this field with the biggest efforts currently on fertilizer reduction.

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The Future of Greentech in China