Q: Do you see any regional opportunities with great potential in cleantech sector in China?
Mr. Simon MacKinnon:
A couple of weeks ago I was in Wuxi (a city in east China), visiting a very impressive new industrial district, which was just marshland 15, 20 years ago next to the lakes. The District has accumulated strength in semiconductors, as an example. So different cities, some of them are focused on different things. Semiconductors are a high priority for China for many things, including as an enabler for cleantech. So that’s another example where if you don’t have the chip power, you can’t do some of the things in wind technology or in making the industry more efficient.
I mentioned previously agricultural technology, I’m working with businesses that are focused on Sichuan Province. For example, technology to make pig rearing more efficient. China has the world’s largest number of pigs and the highest consumption of pork. There are all sorts of interesting technologies to use pig waste. How are you going to reduce the amount of methane to reach the 2060 target? In the west, the problem is cows. Here in China, the problem is more pigs. So, what do you do with those emissions? Technologies can address that. There’s a company I work with called 8 Hours Ahead, an unusual name, which does a lot of work with the UK and European companies, helping them bring interesting cleantech and sustainable technologies to China. One of the areas it works in I mentioned before, Sichuan and the agriculturally intensive areas.
I also think there are big opportunities around steel and heavy industry. There are steel concentrations in some challenged areas. In Inner Mongolia up in the northeast of China. Those steel plants are going to need help to reduce their carbon intensity. So, technologies that will help the steel industry, for the Chinese government if you have those technologies, you’re very attractive. If you can help in those areas if you’re talking about a regional question, there’s a concentration in parts of east China, there’s a concentration up in Baotou, up in Inner Mongolia and there are several places in northeast China that will welcome those technologies.
Down in the south, Foshan, not far from Guangzhou and Shenzhen that are known to western investors. Foshan is the centre for tile making and it’s a very polluting industry. So, if you have technologies that can help the tile industry, you will be very welcome down in Foshan in Guangdong because they have a significant pollution problem.