China 4th in world energy investment hot spots: report

SINGAPORE Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:30pm BST

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China is ranked fourth out of 10 countries and regions as a hot spot for energy investments and could climb higher if it improves its legislative process and financial incentives to woo investors, consultancy EC Harris said on Thursday.

The world's second-largest oil user was ranked No. 4 in energy policies relating to fossil fuels and renewable energy sectors, after the United States, France and Germany, and sixth

in the nuclear sector, EC Harris said in its first research report on National Policies and Incentives for Investors in the Energy Sector.

"It's quite fragmented still in China in terms of national policies. There is huge scale available there and there is huge interest for western technology and western companies to invest," Paul Stapleton, head of Energy of EC Harris, told Reuters.

"The slow legislative process in China and the ability of Western companies to find suitable partners and work successfully there so that they see quick return perhaps drop China a little bit in the ranking," he said.

"However, in terms of market scale the opportunity is immense."

The rankings were based on key factors including government policies and incentives, business environment, forecast of economic growth and electricity consumption.

China is the world's top investor in renewable energy projects, having invested around $120 billion to $160 billion between 2007 and 2010, the report said.

Stapleton said besides attracting investments, China could also become a leading player in the export of renewable technology.

"I see immense opportunity for China to export technology, particularly renewables. It could really accelerate and dominate that market," he said.

The 10 countries and regions in the research also included UK, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, including Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and the Balkans.

(Reporting by Judy Hua and Florence Tan; Editing by Ramthan Hussain)