By Zhu Lingqing
The investment market for China's clean energy and technology industry expanded steadily from 2014 to 2017, with both investment cases and investment amounts hitting record highs last year, according to a report by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
There were 204 cases of private equity and venture capital investment in China's clean energy and technology industry last year, nearly double the number of 2016, the report showed.
In addition, with 194 cases disclosing their investment amounts, total investment amount reached $5.21 billion last year, nearly triple 2016.
As the sub-industries in the clean energy and technology industry, the fields of environmental protection, new energy and new materials saw stable growth from 2014 to 2017. And environmental protection and new energy were still the main focus of the industry last year, the report said.
A total of 118 investment cases valued at $3.149 billion were made in the environmental protection field last year, accounting for 58 percent of total cases, according to the report.
The number of investment cases in new materials field rose to 36 last year. Although the investment amount in the field only accounted for 6 percent of total investment in the whole industry, it might get more attention from investors than the new energy field in the future as policy support from the government is improving.
By comparison, as the scope and amount of government subsidies in the new energy field are shrinking, the sector needs to explore new opportunities and win back the attention of investors, the report read.
After a blowout of mergers and acquisitions in the fourth quarter of 2016, the M&A market of China's clean energy and technology industry rose slowly last year.
While the number of M&A cases increased from 123 in 2016 to 151 last year, the total disclosed M&A amount still hovered low at $5.085 billion. Investors are getting more cautious about M&A cases after the M&A boom in China's capital market between 2014 and 2015.
In addition, there were 19 initial public offerings in China's clean energy and technology industry last year, raising $1.41 billion in funding.
The report showed the Shanghai stock exchange is still the preferred listing place for Chinese clean energy and technology companies.
With the gradual dominance of RMB in equity investment, the attraction of domestic capital market to enterprises is also gradually improving. All PE/VC investments disclosed in China's clean energy and technology industry last year were paid in RMB, according to the report.