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Environmental protection, particularly the fight against air pollution, appears to be gaining traction in China’s corporate sector. Spending on air pollutant treatment has grown by an average of 25 percent per year over the last five years, reaching RMB 78.94 billion in 2014 (roughly USD 12.85 billion). Spending has yet to follow suit for either industrial wastewater or industrial solid waste treatment. Moreover, China’s corporate spending on pollutant treatment is still just over half of what the US spends – reportedly USD 24.6 billion in 20142 – despite America having a much smaller industrial base.
Regional data show that, for most provinces, manufacturing companies were forced to increase their investments in air pollutant treatment to meet the strengthened local hard targets on air pollutant emission. We expect that policy pressure to only intensify.