China: Initial market research sets the stage for market progress
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves released preliminary findings of its China market assessment at the China Cookstoves and Fuels International Conference held in Beijing from May 19-20. The assessment builds off prior research to better understand the clean stoves and fuels sector in China, including current barriers to scale and adoption, and to identify specific interventions that can move the sector forward.
In addition to a national-level assessment, the study closely examines six provinces: Liaoning, Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing and Shaanxi. The research included over 3,600 household surveys and 134 supplier surveys in these six provinces to better understand the drivers of rural consumer behavior around the purchase and use of stoves and potential for provincial-specific policies that can be scaled regionally and nationally to drive adoption of clean technologies.
- There is robust potential to build on past successes in the sector and drive greater adoption of improved stoves and fuels in rural China.
- In the China context, user needs, preferences and choices for fuels and stoves are diverse. Targeted strategies based on consumer segmentation can drive faster, better results.
- Fuel availability, income, and distance from the nearest towns are key factors that drive consumer choice in China. These factors cross provincial lines, and may be the basis for developing larger-scale suppliers.
- The stove and fuel supply industry is highly fragmented; government support, policy improvement, improved technology and access to capital are needed to unlock scale
- Subsidies are likely necessary, but additional analysis is needed to ensure they are strategically targeted based on demand and supply dynamics.
Additional interpretation and analysis of the findings will be conducted by the Alliance over the next few months, including validation with key stakeholders. A handout summarizing the initial findings can be found here. A final report will be released in September 2014.
The assessment is part of a larger collaboration between the Alliance and the Government of China (through the National Development and Reform Commission) to foster the widespread adoption of clean stoves for rural households in China, and to bring health, environmental, gender, and economic benefits to local communities.
The study’s findings will contribute to the Alliance’s and the Chinese government’s planning around clean stove policies and initiatives, including pilot projects in each of the six provinces examined in the study, which are slated to launch in fall 2014.