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Asia's green-tech rivals

The battle lines are being drawn in Asia over green technologies, as governments adapt their tradition of state influence on industry for an era in which eco-friendly products may spell export success. In China, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere, a big portion of fiscal-stimulus measures is dedicated to green projects. It is seen as a way to create new jobs, cut carbon emissions at home

Yet where the money is going varies across the region. Some countries are emphasising particular sectors (like solar power) or early-stage technology (such as fuel cells) with an eye towards building a future market. Other initiatives simply apply current technology to reduce domestic emissions (carbon-capture at power plants, for example). Only 15% of the spending is aimed at R&D, notes New Energy Finance, a market-research group.

China, by some measures, has the most ambitious policy. It has dedicated around $220 billion, or one-third of its overall fiscal stimulus, to projects such as wind, solar, hydropower and clean-coal technologies. This will help the country achieve its target of increasing the share of renewable energy to 10% by 2010.

The Economist

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