By on August 19, 2010

China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) has formed an alliance of 16 Chinese government-owned businesses, aimed at unifying EV standards and speeding up research and development. According to CRIenglish.com, the non-profit group has a startup budget of about $186m, but Peoples Daily claims the group is ramping up to spend $14.7b on EV development over the next ten years (time to start worrying about an EV subsidy gap?). The alliance is said to include the country’s top three oil majors, top two power grid operators, battery and charging equipment makers, as well as the automakers China FAW Group Corporation, Dongfeng Motor Corporation and China Changan Automobile Group. And though this smacks of a response to US government spending on EV stimulus, the Chinesse industry is not exactly praising the new state-owned alliance with one voice.

Du Fangci, assistant secretary general of the China Association of Auto Manufacturers tells the Global Times, somewhat cryptically

New energy vehicles, new to all automakers worldwide, can’t be developed and operated commercially successfully just by the auto industry. But I wonder if SASAC can balance the interests among the member enterprises, which is key to keeping these firms on the same path

Not catching the drift? Li Shengmao, senior analyst with China Investment Consulting explains

As companies’ contributions are different to technologies developed jointly, SASAC should make clear the ownership of the intellectual property

And Zhong Shi, editor-in-chief of China Automotive Review, lays into the plan for making state aid exclusively available to state-owned members of the new association.

Such an association should include all firms strong in the area rather than only SOEs. Though lots of foreign firms launched technology agreements, there is no precedent of successful technology exchange in China’s auto industry,

But perhaps the most direct criticism of the plan comes from Du Fangci, who chides the plan with the very rhetoric that the Communist Party has embraced for decades now (as reported by GT)

Du said that healthy development of the industry depends on both governmental guidance and optimizing resources as determined by the market. “The government shouldn’t control both. But it looks like that is what SASAC, in this case, is doing,” said Du.

Free-market pushback against EV subsidies for state-owned automakers… does any of this sound familiar?

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