Chinese solar panel makers shift to Thailand for growth 2016-02-26


A slew of factors is persuading companies to expand abroad to access the global market

Rising costs and steep anti-dumping duties in the United States and Europe, coupled with a desire to expand overseas, are increasingly driving major Chinese solar panel makers' new investments away from the domestic market, the world's largest, to neighboring Thailand.

Despite slowing economic growth in China, many domestic solar power companies are making a beeline for Thailand, where supportive government policies, growing demand and a host of other factors combine to offer high-growth opportunities and low-duty export potential.

Declining prices, overcapacity and rising costs related to office rents, labor and operations in China are not helping matters either.

For instance, an office in a prime location in Thailand's big cities costs about $21 per square meter per year, much lower than Shanghai's $46.8, according to the US Colliers International.

According to the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, the US tariffs have reduced the value of Chinese exports by about $300 million last year, squeezing profits of more than 200 Chinese solar panel makers.

One of those affected was Yingli Solar, the world's second-largest solar panel maker. The Baoding-based company has not reported profits since 2011 as overcapacity and the attendant excessive production caused prices of solar products to plunge.

It has also partnered with Chinese telecommunications and electronics giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which is also a big player in the photovoltaic inverter market, to provide a series of solar power solutions to the Thai market.



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