China plans to add seven new items to its Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited or Restricted from Export, including solar tech
Chinese article by 赵月
English Editor WM Zhang
01-28 18:07

By Gabby Chen

China is considering adding seven new items including LiDAR systems and solar tech to its Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited or Restricted from Export. This move would help the nation maintain its substantial dominance especially in solar manufacturing just as other countries are trying to strengthen their industries, according to reports by JW Insights and Bloomberg on January 26.

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) published the revised Catelogue on its website on December 30, 2022 to seek public comments.

In addition to LiDAR sytems and solar tech, five other newly added technologies include human cell cloning and gene editing, CRISPR gene editing, synthetic biology (SynBio) technology, crop hybrid advantage utilization, and bulk material handling and conveying technology.

The revised Catalogue has a total of 139 items. It is still in the public consultation phase and no decisions have been made yet.

Cosimo Ries, an analyst with Trivium China, told Bloomberg, "Beijing and the market leaders in China's solar industry are undoubtedly worried about efforts from the US, EU, and India to develop homegrown solar manufacturing industries, so these recent tech export controls may very well be a response. Beijing is looking to slow down the speed at which its competitors can develop their own supply chains."

Wafers are ultra-thin silicon squares that are pieced together into solar panels, and China accounts for 97% of the global output. Chinese firms have spent the past decade developing cutting-edge technology to produce bigger, thinner wafers that have played a big part in reducing the cost of solar power by more than 90%, said the Bloomberg report.

The move underscores the growing strategic importance governments are placing on solar manufacturing as the technology becomes the planet's biggest source of new energy. Countries from the US to India are trying to develop domestic supply chains to chip away at China's advantage.

Considering China's dominant position in wafers and the segment's relatively high barriers for entry, it's reasonable for China to consider the ban to avoid leaking technology to overseas players, Daiwa Capital Markets analysts said in a research note on January 26.

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