ABB sees China leading higher energy efficiency standard
By Yu Hongyu
As China aims to grow its economy by over 6 percent in 2021, global industrial companies are pinning more hopes on the country's market to shore up their competitiveness.
Among them is ABB Ltd., a Swiss power and automation company. Implementing an "in China, for China and the world" strategy, the firm has put China in the front and center of innovation over the past decade. ABB believes China will reach its 2060 carbon neutrality goal by taking the innovation and technology route.
CGTN's Michael Wang spoke with Morten Wierod, president of motion business at ABB, on the changes he has witnessed and the outlook for China's industrial landscape.
The following are excerpts from the interview, which have been edited for clarity and brevity.
CGTN: How is ABB's motion business doing in China? What is the growth profile of your division?
Morten Wierod: Overall we're doing very well in the Chinese market, not only as ABB, but also as moreover motion business, with a good growth in the forth quarter more than 20 percent for the overall business. So, there we see that the trend of higher energy efficiency and the need for productivity. This is driving our business and makes us very optimistic about the future, as we see great growth potential in China for this industry in the general, and for ABB in special.
CGTN: You're certainly no stranger to China. You were in China with ABB back from 2008 to 2011. And when you look at China right now, what kind of changes have you seen when it comes to the industry landscape?
Wierod: China back then was much more of a manufacturing hub for companies like ourselves and others. But today, it is also the center of innovations, adopting new technologies, being in the forefront and setting the standards, to which China was more of a follower in the past but now it is able to set the standards of the future.
I'm happy to see one of my main tasks back then was developing the R&D capabilities and setting up a product development team in China. It went from 0 to 100 people in a few years. Today, we have thousands of R&D engineers developing future solutions for China and the world.
CGTN: When you look at the overall industrial landscape in China, what do you think is the pace of the transition towards a greener industry? China has some very strong and bold ambitions in terms of transitioning to carbon neutrality by 2060.
Wierod: First of all, I want to give credit to China as one of the first to sign the Paris Climate Agreement. That was really a good step. I also see the investments that are going on in China are going in the right direction. But we need to make it (transition towards a greener industry) happen even faster.
Specific changes of higher energy efficiency standards in industries and in buildings are going to drive this adaptation much faster. We need specific and concrete actions today to make it happen by 2060.
CGTN: In the long term, how does China fit into ABB's overall strategy?
Wierod: China is today a very important market for us. It's the second-largest market, standing for about 16 percent of the ABB revenues. We have more than 27 companies and more than 15,000 employees already. So, it is very important also with the growth predictions for the future. It will become more and more important.
I'm looking [forward] to doing more with the Chinese team and also curious to see what are the next innovations we come up with that can help especially the field of energy efficiency and driving productivity.