How China’s Goldwind is taking over the turbine world

The Xinjiang Wind Power Company, a forerunner to Goldwind, used $3.2m (£2.5m) from the Danish government to purchase 13 wind turbines in 1989, and a year later, the Dabancheng Wind Farm was connected to the grid.

Wu Gang joined the company around this time, an engineer with a fascination for wind power.

After 10 years of learning his craft, Wu would take his expertise and his experience working at Xinjiang Wind Power Company and establish Goldwind. The two firms would maintain a close relationship over the years: Xinjiang Wind Power Company is still listed as Goldwind’s largest shareholder, although available information about the original company is scant.

Goldwind was pushed forward in its earliest years by a raft of government assistance, including the secretive 863 Program, which offered financial support for the development of cutting edge technology within China.

Other products of this plan included the Loongson computer processor family, the Tianhe supercomputers, and the Shenzhou spacecraft.

In the early 2000s, Goldwind emerged from its fledgling state to make its first two serious moves: the opening of its first assembly line in Urumqi, and then the signing of a joint design and technology transfer contract for 1.2MW permanent magnet direct drive turbines with the German company Vensys Energy AG.

At the time, Vensys was a second-tier European wind turbine manufacturer. But in acquiring the technology behind its products, Goldwind was able to begin making more sophisticated turbines, for a lower cost, that it could then market as its own.

Goldwind would eventually go on to buy the Hamburg-based company outright, giving the group a solid footing in Europe, and the wealth of expertise it craved.

The company’s crowning moments came in 2009 and 2010. First, Goldwind delivered its first wind turbine to the US, a move unimaginable given the chasm in technological capabilities between the two nations just a few years before.

And then came another stock market listing, this time in Hong Kong, which netted it nearly $1bn.

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