In China, local smart grid equipment suppliers trump foreign names
Liu Zhenya, 61, State Grid's president, dismissed accusations of protectionism, saying China's smart grid market was open and transparent.
Local suppliers held the upper hand because they offered sophisticated home-grown technology at a lower cost, he said. †
European firms including Siemens AG, ABB Ltd †and Alstom SA have long complained about the lack of access to the world's biggest smart grid market, which is dominated by state-owned firms including affiliates of State Grid and its smaller domestic peer, China Southern Grid.
China is at the very forefront of world smart grid technology, Liu said on the sidelines of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing at which the country's new leadership will be revealed this week.
China, like the United States and some European countries such as Britain, is spending heavily to upgrade its power network to a so-called smart grid that can absorb variable and intermittent renewable energy and help improve the efficiency and economics of transmission.
All equipment and materials are procured through open tenders. Whoever has the best price, technology and reputation wins, Liu told Reuters on Friday.
The EU Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying for improved market access, hoping China's new leadership will consider opening the lucrative sector after the party congress.
Foreign firms are not involved in the