Technological capability development in China's energy service company industry

Peng Qiu, Breno Nunes, Kirit Vaidya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Technological capability (TC) plays a strategic role in the competitive advantage of not only individual corporate entities but also entire industries. This paper investigates the crucial factors that affect technological capability development by Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) in China. It identifies how differently sized ESCOs make progress in developing TCs. Through looking at the successes achieved by developed countries in the field of energy conservation, ESCOs are able to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions and are deemed to provide an effective means of conserving energy in China. Existing literature indicates that limited TC levels of are one of the crucial barriers facing Chinese ESCOs. Through investigating three different sizes of Chinese ESCO - small, medium-sized and large - this paper provides a framework to present the idea that Chinese ESCOs' TC development is affected by four key internal and external capabilities: management capability, investment capability, innovation capability and linkage capability. Through comparative analysis, the paper establishes that small and medium-sized private ESCOs are mainly affected by investment and linkage capabilities. Large state-owned ESCOs are mainly affected by innovation and management capability. In addition, all three types of ESCO exhibit a strong desire to develop their technological capability, but small and medium-sized ESCOs exhibit a stronger desire to conduct research and development (R&D) than large ESCOs, whilst large ESCOs prefer to increase their technical reserves through acquisition. This paper identifies factors that affect Chinese ESCOs' TC, but it does intend to address the problem of how to reduce the negative effects of limited TC or the question of how to improve the TC development of Chinese ESCOs effectively. This paper contributes to the field of TC development in the ESCO industry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAMOT 2016 - 25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationTechnology - Future thinking
EditorsLeon Pretorius
PublisherIAMOT & University of Pretoria
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-0-981-58178-1
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2016
Event25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference: Technology – Future thinking - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 15 May 201619 May 2016


Conference25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference
Abbreviated titleIAMOT 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL

Bibliographical note



  • China
  • conceptual framework
  • Energy Service companies (ESCOs)
  • technological capability


Dive into the research topics of 'Technological capability development in China's energy service company industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this