Development of technological capabilities in Chinese Energy Service Companies (ESCOs)

  • Peng Qiu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This PhD investigation aims at identifying technological capability development of Chinese Energy Service Companies (ESCO) from the perspective of drivers, factors, process of technological capabilities development and product portfolio.This PhD investigation addresses four research questions:
1. Why have Chinese ESCOs developed their technological capabilities?
2. Which and how do factors affect Chinese ESCO’s technological capabilities?
3. How have Chinese ESCOs developed technological capabilities?
4. How do case companies compare to US ESCOs in terms of product portfolio?
ESCOs are an effective market-mechanism to help a country to achieve the target of energy conservation. After nearly 30 years’ development, China has the largest ESCO market in the world. The development of ESCO industry in China is however still in its early stages.Technological capability is one of key barriers to its progress in China.The key research strategy was based upon multiple case studies in a qualitative approach which was supplemented by secondary data analysis. Within-case analysis and Cross-cases analysis were employed as key data analysis methods for this investigation.Six Chinese ESCOs of different sizes and locations were analysed through four dimensions of technology capabilities, namely: investment, production, linkage, and innovation. While the findings ratify the impact of these four dimensions on the company’s technological capabilities,they had to be refined in accordance to the characteristics of service industry. An ESCO will manage each dimension and develop its technological capabilities based on the company’s business strategy, business model, products and services.This PhD thesis will help companies to identify the factors within the four dimensions of technological capabilities. This should allow them to gradually develop initiatives to improvetheir products and services.
Date of Award12 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBreno Nunes (Supervisor) & Kirit Vaidya (Supervisor)


  • ESCO
  • technological capability
  • China

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