Tackling Chinese Upgrading Through Experimentalism and Pragmatism: The Case of China’s Wind Turbine Industry

Julia Kirch Kirkegaard


This paper examines the development of China’s wind turbine industry, shedding light on the Chinese mode of disruptive industrial upgrading through policy pragmatism and fragmented, experimental governance. Based on a historical analysis of China’s wind turbine industry, the paper highlights three distinct phases, which are all marked by their own inbuilt and potentially self-disruptive impasses and associated crises. In turn, these impasses have forced the Chinese government into radical and flexible interventions, which have spurred on Chinese companies to creatively find new ways to develop and upgrade. The paper illustrates the transformation of Sino–foreign relations by China’s non-linear upgrading approach, particularly during the Chinese wind power industry’s quality crisis, and its development model. It also discusses the implications this examination of China’s approach has for the literatures on China, upgrading, and catch-up. Finally, the paper calls on future studies to enquire further into China’s distinct mode of industrial upgrading and its embeddedness in China’s institutional context.

Full Text: PDF (English)

Logo von Hamburg University Press und der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky Logo des GIGA-Institut Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo der Leibniz-Gesellschaft