19 September 2012
Western sanctions on China’s solar power sector should be treated as an opportunity.
By: Nicholas Newman
It is not surprising that Europe and the United States are considering the imposition of trade sanctions on China’s
solar power equipment exports. China has followed the economic development of other countries by actively
protecting new industries. So it is not surprising that China’s photo voltaic manufacturers now account for two
thirds of the world market. Unfortunately, having a China first buying policy has not been fair on more established
Western companies who pioneered the first generation of solar power technology.
It is meant that in order to win orders in China, Western companies have been forced to share their technology and
know-how. As a result, this has led to many reports of Chinese companies pirating Western technology. To add insult
to the injury experienced by Western solar power manufacturers, they have seen their Chinese partners pirate their
technology and sell it at below market price, in order to establish market share or drive several foreign companies
Western companies should see the imposition of temporary tariffs on Chinese products as an opportunity to make and
develop the new innovation strategies and business models required to meet the needs of current and future
customers. Unfortunately, I suspect many of them will see a as an excuse not to adapt, which will mean they are
likely to fail in the future.
I find it amazing, that there has not been a great leap forward in the efficiency of solar power cells. I look
forward to the innovators working for such companies as Siemens, and GE (General Electric) to make such a
technological breakthrough by the end of the decade. So Western companies can be again dominating the global solar
power market, with cost effective and efficient technology, that helps aid the rapid economic development of the
world’s developing economies.