Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clean-tech VC investment booming in China

London, 26 July: Venture capitalists invested $420 million in Chinese clean technology companies in 2006, more than double the previous year's $170 million, according to a report from Cleantech Network.

The US network of investors and clean-tech firms predicted the trend would continue, with clean-tech venture capital (VC) investment reaching $580 million this year, and surpassing $720 million in 2008.

"Policy drives much of the interest in China's clean-tech industries. The enforcement of China's renewable energy law attracted a flood of VC investment into energy-related fields in 2006," the report said.

Some 70% of the $420 million total was invested in the solar sector, including 2006's largest VC deal – the $53 million first-stage investment by CVC International and Good Energies in SolarFun, a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells. SolarFun was subsequently floated on US exchange Nasdaq, a trend that is also set to continue with at least four solar companies expected to go public this year, the report noted.

Energy generation will continue to take the lion's share of VC investment in coming years, but water and wastewater will be the next emerging segment, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Cleantech Network predicted, as "China is facing serious issues of water quality and water resources, especially in North China".

Of the 26 deals struck in 2006, six were in the water sector, for a total of $90 million. However, the report predicts water technology investment will only reach $100 million by 2008.

Overall VC investment in China reached $2.2 billion in 2006, and the report said veteran investors see opportunity in clean-tech that is akin to IT – which today is the dominant investment segment in China.

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