China increased its total solar panel capacity by 80 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter last year, according to a statement (in Chinese) on May 4 from China’s National Energy Administration. But despite the government’s determination that China dominate the world market for solar panels — the New York Times reported (paywall) last month that this may already have happened — many deficiencies remain. For instance, Bloomberg notes, “Central and eastern China accounted for about 89 percent of new capacity,” while PV-Tech pointed out that the western provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia suffer from 39 percent, 19 percent, and 10 percent curtailment, respectively. Curtailment means “a shortage of transmission capacity to connect projects in remote regions to end users,” a long-standing problem for China’s electricity grid — see, for example, this Reuters report from October 2015.
Solar power still occupies a small space in China’s energy mix, and even as it sees strong growth, other types of energy generation are gaining. Energy Post has an article from earlier this year that puts China’s 2016 energy mix into context, while PV-Tech explains that curtailment issues contributed to the government’s downgrading of its 2020 solar panel capacity goal from 150 gigawatts to a more achievable goal of 110 gigawatts last November.
Regulator in China takes aim at Anbang Insurance Group / NYT (paywall)
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission announced “that it had taken disciplinary measures against the Anbang Insurance Group, a financial behemoth that has tried to invest tens of billions of dollars overseas, for the improper sale of two investment products.” For more on Anbang’s recent travails, including its announcement of legal action against Caixin magazine, see SupChina’s recent roundup.
China’s booming service industry can’t keep up with college grads / Bloomberg
“Despite government incentives, the economy isn’t creating enough high-skilled service jobs for software programmers, financial advisers, brand managers, and others.”
Food giant COFCO looks to shed money-losing assets / Caixin
“State-owned food giant China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp. (COFCO) is looking for buyers of some money-losing assets…including instant-noodle brand Wugudaochang, instant-food producer COFCO Jiangxi Natural Cereal Foods and grain and oil maker COFCO Tianhai Grain and Oil Industry.”
China commodities rout continues as iron ore, coking coal tumble / Financial Times (paywall)
The price of iron ore hit a six-month low on May 5.
- China’s war on debt causes stocks to drop, bond yields to shoot up and defaults to rise / WSJ (paywall)
- Investors rush to develop rental housing as Chinese home prices surge / Reuters
- China to let firms tap stock markets for new Silk Road projects / Reuters
- Warren Buffett has many fans in China but few true followers / The Economist (paywall)
- This startup is shooting for a Pixar moment in China’s fragmented but huge VR space / Tech in Asia
- To expand in China, Airbnb is eyeing Japan and its aging population / CNBC