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Innovation and international technology transfer: The case of the Chinese photovoltaic industry

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Author Info

  • Arnaud De La Tour

    (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - Mines ParisTech)

  • Matthieu Glachant

    (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - Mines ParisTech)

  • Yann Ménière

    ()
    (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - Mines ParisTech)

Abstract

China is the largest solar photovoltaic cell producer in the world, with more than one third of worldwide production in 2008, exporting more than 95 percent of what it produces. The purpose of this paper is to understand the drivers of this success and its limits, with a particular emphasis on the role of technology transfers and innovation. Our analysis combines a review of international patent data at a detailed technology level with field interviews of ten Chinese PV companies. We show that Chinese producers have acquired the technologies and skills necessary to produce PV products through two main channels: the purchasing of manufacturing equipment in a competitive international market and the recruitment of skilled executives from the Chinese diaspora who built pioneer PV firms. The success of these firms in their market is, however, not reflected in their performance in terms of innovation. Rather, patent data rather highlight a policy-driven effort to catch up in critical technological areas.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00498578.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published, Energy Policy, 2011, 39, 2, 761-770
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00498578

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal-ensmp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00498578/en/
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Keywords: Solar photovoltaic energy; technology diffusion; technology transfer; China;

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References

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  1. Keller, Wolfgang, 2002. "International Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  3. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Matthieu Glachant & Yann Ménière, 2009. "What drives the international transfer of climate change mitigation technologies? Empirical evidence from patent data," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 14, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  4. Jacob Funk Kirkegaard & Thilo Hanemann & Lutz Weischer, 2009. "It Should Be a Breeze: Harnessing the Potential of Open Trade and Investment Flows in the Wind Energy Industry," Working Paper Series WP09-14, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  5. Yang, Hong & Wang, He & Yu, Huacong & Xi, Jianping & Cui, Rongqiang & Chen, Guangde, 2003. "Status of photovoltaic industry in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 703-707, June.
  6. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pueyo, Ana & García, Rodrigo & Mendiluce, María & Morales, Darío, 2011. "The role of technology transfer for the development of a local wind component industry in Chile," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4274-4283, July.
  2. Nemet, Gregory F., 2012. "Inter-technology knowledge spillovers for energy technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1259-1270.
  3. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Matthieu Glachant & Yann Ménière, 2013. "What Drives the International Transfer of Climate Change Mitigation Technologies? Empirical Evidence from Patent Data," Post-Print hal-00488268, HAL.
  4. Binz, Christian & Truffer, Bernhard & Coenen, Lars, 2014. "Why space matters in technological innovation systems—Mapping global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 138-155.
  5. Gregor Schwerhoff, 2013. "Leadership and International Climate Cooperation," Working Papers 2013.97, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Dutz, Mark A. & Sharma, Siddharth, 2012. "Green growth, technology and innovation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5932, The World Bank.
  7. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer, 2012. "Regulatory distance and the transfer of new environmentally sound technologies: evidence from the automobile sector," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 73, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  8. Ben Jebli, Mehdi & Ben Youssef, Slim, 2013. "Output, renewable and non-renewable energy consumption and international trade: Evidence from a panel of 69 countries," MPRA Paper 56494, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Apr 2014.
  9. Arnaud De La Tour & Matthieu Glachant, 2013. "How do solar photovoltaic feed-in tariffs interact with solar panel and silicon prices? An empirical study," Working Papers hal-00809449, HAL.
  10. Yann Ménière & Matthieu Glachant & Antoine Dechezleprêtre & C. Pot & F. Carrere & Gilles Le Blanc, 2011. "L'innovation technologique face au changement climatique : quelle est la position de la France ?," Working Papers hal-00842146, HAL.
  11. Glachant, Matthieu & Dussaux, Damien & Meniere, Yann & Dechezlepretre, Antoine, 2013. "Greening global value chains : innovation and the international diffusion of technologies and knowledge," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6467, The World Bank.
  12. Jing Cao & Felix Groba, 2013. "Chinese Renewable Energy Technology Exports: The Role of Policy, Innovation and Markets," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1263, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Wu, Ching-Yan & Mathews, John A., 2012. "Knowledge flows in the solar photovoltaic industry: Insights from patenting by Taiwan, Korea, and China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 524-540.
  14. Zeting LIU, 2013. "La politique d’innovation chinoise face au défi de la transition énergétique China's innovation policy and the challenge of energy transition: the case of photovoltaic and wind turbine industries," Working Papers 271, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  15. Wei Jin, 2012. "Can Technological Innovation Help China Take on Its Climate Responsibility? A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-51, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  16. Popp, David, 2012. "The role of technological change in green growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6239, The World Bank.
  17. Siping Luo & Mary E. Lovely & David Popp, 2013. "Intellectual Returnees as Drivers of Indigenous Innovation: Evidence from the Chinese Photovoltaic Industry," NBER Working Papers 19518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Arnaud De La Tour & Matthieu Glachant & Yann Ménière, 2013. "What cost for photovoltaic modules in 2020? Lessons from experience curve models," Working Papers hal-00805668, HAL.

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