China has taken on General Electric Co. (GE) and Western peers that control the $70 billion wind-turbine market, striving to repeat its 2010 coup when the Asian nation sold more than half the world’s solar panels for the first time.
Armed with at least $15.5 billion in state-backed credit, China’s biggest windmill makers Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. won their first major foreign orders in the past year. They plan to set up plants abroad, including China’s first in the U.S., easing entry into markets for delivering machines that can weigh 750 tons each.
Sinovel and Goldwind may counter the quality concerns of customers and overtake Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S as the biggest supplier by 2015, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey forecast. That can erode sales and margins for suppliers such as GE and Vestas that already face cutbacks in European subsidies and a 22 percent plunge in turbine prices from their 2008 peak.
“The Chinese dragon is coming,” said Jose Antunes Sobrinho, chief executive officer of Brazil’s Desenvix SA, a wind developer that ordered 23 Sinovel turbines in September.
The deal, South America’s first contract with a Chinese supplier, “is going to be a stepping stone for them” to showcase machines that are about 10 percent cheaper than those sold by competitors in Brazil such as GE and Germany’s Siemens AG (SIE), he said by telephone on Oct. 3.