I recently retired as UK senior partner of BDO after 23 years as a partner with the firm. Last year, I took up a position as visiting professor at Xiamen University, China. My wife is Chinese and I decided to spend three months exploring business opportunities in the region and trying to learn some Mandarin.
I’m blogging about my experiences in China for Real Business ? catch up on my journey so far. I recently visited a solar panel manufacturer near Shanghai, which hopes to IPO in Germany next year. Many of its Western competitors are going out of business in the face of low-cost production from Malaysia, Philippines and China, which now makes 40 per cent of the world?s solar panels (from a standing start five years ago). Although Western governments provide incentives for installing solar panels ? and some taxpayer funding for production ? recent demand has been disappointing and prices have fallen by 40 per cent this year. Suspicions remain that China, which favours green energy in its Five Year Plan, provides soft loans and land to its manufacturers.
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