Large utility companies have long held a monopoly on electricity production. Since the late 1800s both state-owned and privately-held enterprises have taken advantage of economies of scale to profit from the creation and distribution of power.

The situation in China is no different. A push for energy reform beginning in the 1980s eventually resulted in the dissolution of the State Power Corporation of China, but the country’s electric grids are still overseen by just two companies: the State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Power Grid. These firms hold geographical monopolies—one in the north and one in the south—on the transmission of energy, which is largely generated by five state-owned enterprises.

The justifications for centralization are numerous: efficiency, innovation in transmitting electricity over long distances, regulation, and more. But the paradigm is shifting.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.