Technological capabilities development model in Chinese energy service companies

Peng Qiu, Breno Nunes*, Kirit Vaidya, Geerten van de Kaa, Mark Greeven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the energy service companies (ESCOs) in China from the perspective of technological capability (TC) development. The conventional capability development model of manufacturing in emerging economies has been adapted to examine the four dimensions of TC (investment, production, linkage and innovation) through a qualitative analysis of multiple case studies. Small and medium-sized private ESCOs can perform well based on investment and production capabilities to develop energy management software competence. Large state-owned ESCOs can develop more advanced linkage and innovation capabilities and serve large-scale businesses with more specialist services. For small and medium-sized ESCOs, competitiveness, customers and related business strategy are the primary drivers of TC development. These drivers are essential for large ESCOs, but government support and pressure are also important. The framework developed can be used to research ESCOs and other service providers in other developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129551
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Chinese ESCOs
  • Energy efficiency
  • Technological capability


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