Since 1915, AmCham Shanghai has been at the forefront of enabling American business success in China. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Chamber held a special two-day event that featured more than 500 distinguished guests, including U.S. and Chinese government officials, and a forum with top business and investment leaders, industry experts and entrepreneurs.
The Paulson Institute’s Elle Carberry, a managing director in the Beijing office who has worked in the clean tech area in China for more than 10 years, moderated a panel on Greening China: The Business of Clean Tech as part of the celebration. Participating in the panel were Qin Zhigang, Asia Sustainability Director, General Electric; Ben Schwegler, SVP and Chief Scientist, Walt Disney Imagineering R&D; Dave Jones, President Asia, SPD Silicon Valley Bank; and David Nieh, Head of China, Lend Lease China.
Carberry opened the discussion with a brief history of clean tech in the country, noting the milestones of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an event that pulled green-tech into fashion, and the January 2013 air-pocalypse, which led Premier Keqiang’s proclamation of “war on pollution.” required all cities on China’s east coast to immediately and publicly begin reporting PM2.5 data for the first time. Two years later, Beijing’s PM2.5 levels have improved, but there is still much more work to be done, and room for international business to support continued progress with technology, finance and projects.
Carberry noted that China may need up to RMB 2 trillion ($350B) annually to meet its current environmental and energy goals for 2030. “The fiscal regime can provide only 10-15% of this figure,” Carberry said, “implying the need to raise private sector capital.”
A recent Goldman Sachs equity research report estimates that China’s environmental investments totaled RMB 5.1 trillion ($850 billion) over the past Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and forecasts that for the next Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), that number will increase by more than 60% to RMB 8.2 trillion ($1.35 trillion).
The panelists then discussed where and how companies can seize current opportunities and how international and Chinese companies can collaborate.