Development Strategy of China s PV Industry in Global Value Chain

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1 Development Strategy of China s PV Industry in Global Value Chain ZHANG Kan, GUO Xuemeng School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, P.R.China, Abstract: The emergence of global value chain exerts new influences on the global market and international trade, and changes the development strategies of industries in all countries. In this pattern, China s PV industry fully participates in the labor division system of global value chain. In recent years, it has rapidly developed and its market share ranks the first in the world. However, due to the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations carried out by Europe and America, global PV market s demand for China s enterprises slows down and the resistance against the product export of China s enterprises increases. In essence, it is because the China s PV enterprises in the labor division of global value chain occupy the low-value-added link, and provide large trade statistical data while obtaining relatively small profits, resulting in the trade resistance of other countries, and revealing the problems, such as excess dependence of China s PV product market on overseas market demand, excess capacity of products in low-value-added link, and insufficient capacity of products in high-value-added link. Therefore, adjusting policy and market s support timing, accelerating the transfer progress of global value chain and strengthening the utilization of domestic market are the strategic considerations of the constant and healthy development of China s PV industry. Keywords: Development strategy, Global value chain, PV, Value added 1 Introduction With the increasing development of economic globalization, the international market economic system has gradually perfected, and the division of labor in of all countries tends to internationalization and diversification. The process is not simply completed by an enterprise as in the past, but involves the participation of more countries and enterprises. The process tends to be complex and lengthy. The international activity is converted from the division of labor in a country to the division of labor in the global, and expanded from the simple process in a factory to the network penetrating the global. The international professional division of labor with products as the boundary has gradually evolved into the professional division of labor in the same product with links as the boundary. 2 Text 2.1 Generation of global value chain The traditional international labor division theories have been unable to accurately explain and guide the global market, which gives birth to the establishment and development of the theoretical system of global value chain. In 1985, Michael Porter first proposed the concept of value chain in the book Competitive Advantage, and divided the value creation process by the enterprise into different links. Subsequently, a country s comparative advantage was mentioned in the link of value chain. The concept of value chain was extended to region and country. In the 21st century, the global value chain is introduced into the system of global goods and service trade, thereby establishing the basic concept of global value chain and its basic theoretical framework. 2.2 Influence of global value chain In the framework of global value chain, multinational enterprises as the main body play a leading role. The links of product value chain are divided and the optimal geographical distribution is searched in the 103

2 global for. Through horizontal and vertical integration, multinational enterprises integrate resources into unified allocation, internalize the external market, and reduce their transaction costs through internal control. Meanwhile, the capitals of countries in accordance with comparative advantages enter into different links of the whole chain of product development, raw material supply, and assembly, and marketing. However, due to different added values, countries obtain different benefits. In this process, multinational enterprises in developed countries take the lead to enter into and firmly grasp the high-value-added link of value chain with the help of national comparative advantages, so as to obtain the most value-added benefits. Meanwhile, the huge value-added interests promote the rapid expansion of multinational enterprises. The high-value-added link is monopolized by these multinational enterprises, and under the protection of national policies, evolves into relatively high entry barrier. The link distribution of global value chain has been gradually solidified. The non-equilibrium of this resource allocation promotes the imbalance of global economic development. The countries with more benefits further influence the global economic system and global political system through the formation of economic systems and economic policies, thus providing a solid support for their multinational enterprises and further strengthening the enterprises control of the high-value-added link of value chain. Meanwhile, based on division of global value chain, products in middle link flow several times between countries in the global. A country s final export commodities contain a large number of intermediate goods produced in other countries. The intermediate goods are transited several times and repeatedly calculated, thus enlarging the trade statistical data. Taking into account the composition of final export commodities, the added value just yielded in a country s value chain link can represent the country s level of economy and trade. In 2010, China surpassed Japan and became the world s second largest economy just following America. However, behind the encouraging news, it is worth discussing. Consumption, investment and export are the three important factors of GDP growth. In the contributions to China s economic growth, export always occupies a large proportion. In 2013, the total export volume accounted for 24.1% of GDP. However, in the mode of division of labor in the global value chain, the existing trade statistical methods make the contribution of China's exports to GDP growth overestimated to some extent. American International Trade Commission scholars Robert Koopman and William Powers, Wang Zhi and Columbia University researcher Wei Shangjin carried out a preliminary study and developed the value-added trade statistical method. In the study, they pointed out that, if the trade data is re-examined from the perspective of trade added value, China s trade surplus against America and EU would sharply drop by 41% and 49%. A research subject Research on Interest Relationship between Global Value Chain and International Trade led by China s Commerce Department, also pointed out, in 2010, the export of every 1,000 dollars just brought the added value of 615 dollars to China; with the traditional trade statistical method, in 2010, the total export volume accounted for 29.5% of GDP, but the added value brought by exports just accounted for 18.1% of GDP. The emergence of this situation is just because about half of our trade volume comes from processing trade, but the processing is usually in the low-value-added link of value chain, resulting in a lower content of unit added value in China s export. 2.3 Dilemma of China s photovoltaic (PV) industry development With the global economic development, the energy is deeply involved. Followed is the serious environmental problem. The global energy conflict is increasingly prominent. Therefore, the development and use of new energy becomes a new path to explore the development of countries. Currently, the new energy acquisition technology of converting solar energy into electrical energy has been studied and promoted by many countries, which gives rise to the PV industry. PV and wind power, as the representatives of new energy, are regarded as the core of the third industrial revolution. Over the past decade, PV has become a mature and mainstream energy generation way. The global cumulated generating capacity is over 100 gigawatts, and over 53 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be saved every year. The rapid development and expansion of China s PV industry 104

3 enables China s PV enterprises to occupy a favorable position in the overseas market in terms of price and technology. In recent years, China s PV industry has always occupied a relatively large share of the global market. From 2008 to 2011, China s PV cell output, respectively accounted for 36.7%, 40%, 50% and 65% of global output. As of, the amount of China s PV products export reached 25, million dollars Middle and East Asia Other Places in the World America Asia-Pacific Area China Europe Middle and East Asia Other Places in the World America Asia-Pacific Area China Europe Figure amount of PV installation in the global per year (MW) However, since 2011, China s PV enterprises have continuously suffered the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations carried out by America and EU, and have been imposed on high anti-dumping and countervailing duties, severely reducing the competitiveness of China s solar PV products in America and Europe. Table 1 Process of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy verdict made by America to China s PV industry Process Time Contents Cause Initial verdict Final verdict Follow-up October 2011 November 2011 March May October November American PV enterprise Solar World requires carrying out anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against China s PV enterprises America registers the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against China s PV enterprises Anti-subsidy initial verdict: impose anti-subsidy duty of % on China s PV products Anti-dumping initial verdict: impose anti-dumping duty of % on China s PV products Final verdict of American Commerce Department: anti-dumping duty is %; anti-subsidy duty is % Affirmative verdict of American International Trade Commission: American Commerce Department issues the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duty orders on November

4 Table 2 Process of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy verdict made by EU to China s PV industry Process Time Contents July German enterprise Solar World submits an appeal to EU, requiring carrying out anti-dumping investigation against China s PV products. The target amount is over 10 billion dollars. EU will decide whether to carry out the investigation within 45 days after receiving the investigation application. Cause EU issues a formal notice to initiate the anti-dumping investigation against China PV September solar products. The investigation scope includes crystalline silicon PV modules, cells and silicon wafers. November EU formally registers the anti-subsidy investigation against China s PV cells Initial verdict of EU: impose 11.8% provisional anti-dumping duty on China s PV Initial verdict June 2013 products from June 6 to August 6. If both parties fail to find a solution before August 6, anti-dumping duty rate will rise to 47.6%. Final verdict December 2013 On December 5, EU formally issues anti-dumping and anti-subsidy notice to China s PV industry. Impose the final 47.7% and the highest 64.9% anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on China s PV export enterprises without the scope of price undertaking. The value chain of PV industry can be divided into links such as polysilicon, silicon wafer, cell, component, system integration and system installation and maintenance. For polysilicon, and system installation and maintenance at both ends of value chain, the profit is nearly 50%; for the processing links such as cell and component in the middle, the profit is around 7%-20%. By analyzing the regional distribution of links of PV industry value chain, most of China s enterprises are in the links of cell and component, but America, Europe and Japan grasp the key links of polysilicon and the core patent. By analyzing the structure of PV products, China mainly exports PV cells and components. By analyzing the mode and structure of China s PV product trade, processing trade plays a leading role. The value-added profit obtained by China s PV enterprises from division of labor is far less than the advantage showed by the trade statistical data. The verdicts of Europe and America concerning the harm to their industries caused by China s PV products are the accidental injuries of China s PV industry. Conversely, European and American enterprises that occupy high value-added links, under the concealing of trade weakness, obtain high profits. Added value System installation and maintenance System integration Component Cell Silicon wafer Polysilicon 18% 33% 47% 54% 5% 8% Figure 2 Positioning of China s PV industry in global value chain Value chain 106

5 3 Conclusion Under the preconditions that external trade environment is worsening and the development of overseas market suffers greater resistance, China s PV industry is facing the situations, such as serious stage imbalance in capacity, difficulty of promoting industry integration and great operation pressure on enterprises. 3.1 Short-term policy support and long-term benign development Throughout the development process of China s PV industry, it can be said that, China s PV industry develops under the protection of subsidy policy. With the updating of technology level of PV industry, PV generating efficiency is constantly improving, but PV generating cost is still higher than that of other power generation ways. Comparing with other power generation ways, the cost of thermal power generation is about 0.4 yuan/kwh, and the generating cost of wind power as one of the common important new energies is 0.6 yuan/kwh. However, the cost of PV power generation is still up to yuan/kwh. As least, at the current technical level, PV power generation still seriously depends on the government s subsidy support, and does not have the capacity to separate from subsidy and independently participate in the power supply market competition. In 2013, the State Council issued Opinions on Promoting Healthy Development of PV Industry, and proposed the requirement of promoting the healthy development of PV industry and expanding domestic market while continuously keeping the subsidy strength of supporting PV industry. In the short run, for the gradual deterioration of the external environment, policy support is still an important guarantee for the survival and constant development of China s PV industry. However, in the long run, policy support causes the core problem of PV industry development, namely the high independence on subsidy. Policy support does not solve the problem of small profits obtained by China s PV industry in global value chain. The development essence of PV industry is to ensure the overall coverage of value chain, fully mobilize domestic market demand, improve enterprise s competitiveness, and reach the stable state of whole chain, high technology, reasonable profit, and equilibrium price. 3.2 Accelerate transfer progress of global value chain China s PV industry develops by embedding into global value chain and undertaking the link transferred from developed countries. The infrastructure, equipment and technology base of relevant industries in China is relatively weak. In despite of rapid development in recent years, the industries introduce a large number of equipment from foreign countries. The technical imitation and innovation are slow, still have a difference from the foreign level, and show different trends in the value chain link. The link of component is the earliest transferred link in the value chain of PV industry, as well as the lowest-value-added link. Due to relatively wealthy labor elements, China participates in the link of component. However, with the increase of China s labor cost, this advantage is gradually weakening and many shares are apportioned by other developing countries. In the link of cell, the technical advantage brought by talents becomes the highlight of China s PV industry. For instance, Shi Zhengrong, a PV cell scientist, after returning to China, established Wuxi Shangde Company, which had an important influence on the development of the link of China s PV cell. China has certain advantages in the independent research and development of monocrystalline PV cell, so China has some advantages in the link of silicon wafer. In the transfer process of value china, the development of this link mitigates the limitations of upstream links on China s silicon wafer supply. However, with the development of polysilicon technology as well as the increase of its proportion in PV industry, China is urgent to make a breakthrough in new technology. In the high-value-added link of value chain of PV industry, such as polysilicon, system integration, installation and maintenance, though accumulating some capital advantages, China still has technical disadvantages. Therefore, through trade, foreign direct investment, technical research and development and so on, it is necessary to embed more complex link, improve the 107

6 capacity of intermediate goods and achieve the product upgrading; through technical upgrading or system reconstruction, improve the efficiency of investment industry and achieve the process upgrading. Meanwhile, it is good development direction to actively expand the downstream links of PV industry or derivative industries, such as enhancing cooperation with power plant, improving return on investment and providing stable channels for component sales. 3.3 Strengthen utilization of domestic market In the premise of resistance of overseas market, it is a right choice to fully utilize the feature of large scale of China s market, after all. Utilizing domestic market can be seen from two aspects of product demand and fund supply. In the aspect of enlarging domestic product demand, through policy guidance, comprehensively consider market demand at home and abroad, industrial supply and demand balance and other factors, establish the system of PV product, marketing and service suitable for domestic market, and mobilize the initiatives of local, enterprises and consumers to jointly push forward the development of PV industry. In the aspect of enlarging fund supply, widen the fun-raising channel of PV industry, and provide domestic industries with stable fund chain guarantee in the downturn of industry. Through the favorable stimulation of the policy, transform to the performance of PV listed enterprises, improve performance and recover increase expectation; use overseas financing platforms to open international financing channels; introduce asset allocation selections such as insurance and fund, and carry out the steady asset-liability management and investment portfolio. References [1]. Wang, Z. and Wei, S.J. (2009) Value Chains in East Asian Production Networks An International Input-Output Model Based Analysis, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Economics Working Paper. No C [2]. Koopman, R., Z. Wang and S.-J. Wei (2008). How Much Chinese Exports is Really Made in China Assessing Foreign and Domestic Value-Added in Gross Exports, NBER Working Paper. No [3]. Koopman, R., W. Powers, Z. Wang and S.-J. Wei (2011). Give Credit to Where Credit is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production, NBER Working Paper. No [4]. Dedrick, J., K.L. Kraemer and G. Linden (2010). Who Profits from Innovation in Global Value Chains?: a Study of the Ipod and Notebook PCs, Industrial and Corporate Change. 19 (1): [3] Hummels, D., J. Ishii, and K.-M. Yi (2001). The Nature and Growth of Vertical Specialization in World Trade, Journal of International Economics. 54: [5]. European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics [6]. Zhang Aolin. The Development Path of China s Photovoltaic Industry Embedded in Global Value Chain. Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (in Chinese) 108

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