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China's new energy vehicles: value and innovation

  • Chris Kimble


    (MRM - Montpellier Research in Management - UPVD - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia - Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School - Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III - UM2 - Université Montpellier 2 - Sciences et Techniques - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1, Euromed Marseille - École de management - Association Euromed Management - Marseille)

  • Hua Wang

    (Euromed Marseille - École de management - Association Euromed Management - Marseille)

Purpose The overarching theme is the importance of innovations that are created within the emerging economies. More specifically, the article looks at the development of various alternatives to vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine, new energy vehicles (NEVs) within China. Design/methodology/approach The broad strategic approach of two sectors within the NEV sector in China, the pure electric vehicle (EV) and the low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV) sectors, are compared using recent data and conclusions are drawn. Findings The EV sector is viewed by the central government as a key sector for China's future industrial growth and is heavily supported. In contrast, the LSEV sector receives no support from central government and yet clearly outstrips the sales of EVs. The article argues that the latter's success is a reflection of the LSEV sector's focus on business model rather than technological innovation. Practical implications The article highlights the importance of monitoring innovations that come from within emerging economies and also illustrates the benefits that can come from commercially focused innovations rather than those based on technology. Social implications Finding alternatives to vehicles powered by fossil fuels is one of the most important challenges facing the world today. This article looks at the search for one alternative and examines its implications. What is original/of value? The article examines a business sector that is peculiarly Chinese and yet has potential implications far beyond China. It also contains recent sales figures and other data collected directly from sources in China.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00859484.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Business Strategy, Emerald, 2013, 34 (2), pp.13-20. <10.1108/02756661311310413>
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00859484
DOI: 10.1108/02756661311310413
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