China's not-so sunny solar sector

After years of state-sponsored overspending, China's solar industry needs restructuring amid huge debts, poor margins and widespread bankruptcy.

China’s solar power sector showcases the very best and worst of Chinese industrial policy. In a short few years, the industry has sucked up billions of dollars of cash, gained a dominant position in the global market but now needs restructuring amid huge debts, poor margins and widespread bankruptcy.

The country’s top 10 solar companies are $16 billion in the red, according to the ministry of industry and information technology. Across the entire industry, debts of $7.1 billion are coming up for repayment next year and several big companies are already either bankrupt or negotiating with creditors.

New York-listed Suntech Power, which was once the world’s biggest...

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