Sinopec aims high with HRS

State-owned enterprises (SOE) are a unique product of China’s political economy. SOEs must respond to business stimuli to stay profitable, but are also held accountable for implementing political goals.

The hydrogen and fuel cell industry in China was dominated by private companies during the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Golden Age, from 2017 to 2019. During that period, even in sectors such as hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) construction, where the economies of scale and engineering background of SOEs would have helped development, private firms predominated.

This situation changed suddenly with the release in March 2022 of the Mid- to Long-Term Hydrogen Industry Development Goals, a document that can be understood as China’s national hydrogen strategy.

With the publication of the Hydrogen Industry Development Goals, large SOEs like China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), that had been observing the industry at a distance but were too cautious to make business decisions, now had a political reason to invest in China’s growing hydrogen industry.

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