Rural Development in China: The Rise of Innovative Institutions and Markets (Volume 1)

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Biometric Identification technologies using such as identification of fingerprints, vocal prints, facial features, and iris has been increasingly used in scenarios such as account log-in, identity authentication, and small payments. In addition, new achievements have been made in the application of the blockchain in areas including clearing and custody of funding, digital notes, and capital transaction, but generally speaking, the technology is still in the nascent stage, with its use limited to lab experiments or small-scale situations and few cases of commercial or production use.

On the other hand, FinTech is still rooted in the finance industry and falls within the confines of financing, credit creation, and risk management. FinTech has not changed the hidden, sudden, and contagious nature financial risks, nor the negative externalities they can bring. As a result, FinTech has posed a new issue and challenge to financial regulators in China.

In line with the requirements of the Opinion, relevant regulatory agencies also rolled out a series of regulatory rules for related business forms in Internet Finance. The China Securities Regulatory Commission rolled out Measures on the Supervision and Management of Money Market Funds, setting out rules on information disclosure, risk disclosure, and forbidden actions for money market funds. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission publicized the Temporary Measures on Internet Insurance Businesses, stipulating standards on the operational condition, business scope, information disclosure requirement, and relevant regulatory rules for insurance institutions engaging in Internet insurance businesses.

To address this phenomenon, Chinese regulators actively explore the method of penetrative regulation for FinTech to see through the appearance of financial products and identify the essence of financial businesses and activities, connecting the dots between sources of funding, intermediate links, and final destinations. Valuing essence over appearance, regulators seek to identify the entities to be regulated and applicable rules based on the function of products, business nature, and legal properties, monitoring the businesses and activities of industry institutions along the whole procedures.

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In actual practice, penetrative regulation can help address new regulatory challenges brought by FinTech. First, penetrative regulation is required of all FinTech institutions engaging in financial businesses and providing financial services, irrespective of the nature of their financial products and service providers, subject to basically identical market access policies and regulatory requirements, ensuring fair and consistent regulation.

Second, penetrative regulation places great emphasis on considering information along the whole business chain, including sources of funds, intermediate links, and final destinations of funds, so as to identify the essence of businesses, the entities to be regulated and applicable rules, helping to eliminate overlapping regulation and regulatory arbitrage.

Third, penetrative regulation requires regulators to enhance coordination and information sharing among themselves so as to determine the risk profile and overall leverage of relevant activities and ensure total coverage of FinTech regulation. Fourth, penetrative regulation stresses the verification of end investors, identifying the undertaker of final risks and returns, implementing management of investor suitability, and ensuring the right products are sold to the right investors.

Fifth, penetrative regulation focuses on the inspection of funding flows between related financial groups as well as their assets, liabilities, and governance structure, which serves to guard against unfair competition, transferring benefits for personal gains, and inappropriate related-party transactions, etc.

In addition, many of the customers of FinTech are long-tail customers and disadvantaged groups, making it necessary to enhance the protection of FinTech consumers. To this end, Chinese regulators have engaged in multiple endeavors. First, build and improve the third-party custody system and require FinTech institutions such as P2P loan infomediaries and third parties to institute third-party custody of client funds in commercial banks and ensuring the security of the funds of financial consumers.

Second, reinforce information disclosure. Formulate guidelines on information disclosure and standards, urge FinTech institutions to disclose operational and financial information in a timely manner to help financial consumers gain sufficient knowledge of the operational status of the institutions and prompt industry players to operate with prudence and control relevant risks. Third, step up monitoring of Internet advertisement and urge advertising media to take on the responsibilities to review the the content, realizing effective regulation of advertisements abut FinTech and wealth management product.

Fourth, improve management of investor suitability. Formulate management regulations on investor suitability, urge FinTech institutions to comply with investor suitability rules, and ensure financial consumers invest in products suited to the risk to their levels of risk tolerance. Fifth, push forward financial consumer education. Provide various forms of training on FinTech knowledge and issue risk alerts to improve the financial literacy and risk prevention capabilities of consumers.

In China, FinTech brought about certain issues and hidden risks despite its rapid development. To address this issue, at the beginning of , China launched the Thematic Regulation of Internet Finance Risk, highlighting the principles of targeting problems, regulating by category, and implementing comprehensive measures. The aim of the initiative is not to negate the benefit of Internet Finance, but rather, to protect law-abiding businesses by cracking down on those which break the law, thereby effectively regulating operational activities and recovering a healthy, orderly environment for the development of Internet Finance.

Judging from the effects of the initiative, the overall market environment has been gradually improved and a mechanism for fair market competition has been recovered, enabling businesses which obey the law to eliminate unscrupulous players. Some of the small-scale institutions which profit by luring investors in with high returns instead of building their strength in their business sectors, now have no choice but to stop their operations and seek other business opportunities, enabling orderly phasing-out of underperformers.

Industry self-regulation is an important mechanism where institutions and practitioners in the same industry, in an effort to protect and further shared interests, unite on a voluntary basis to formulate rules to regulate their own behavior and realize self-management within the industry. With the continuous innovation and development of the Internet Finance industry in China, ever increasing market complexities have continued to add to the direct and indirect costs of government regulation, making it necessary to introduce industry self-regulatory organizations and social resources to bring out the role of self-regulation in facilitating market communication, market-oriented constraints, and risk mitigation and serve as a conducive complement and vigorous support to the relatively rigid administrative regulation.

The dynamic evolution of international financial regulation has also shown that financial regulators adjust regulatory measures based on the level of accumulated and exposed risks.

China’s Path to FinTech Development

With sound industry self-regulation, the industry will develop in an orderly manner. And when industry institutions practice prudent compliance, regulation will be made more flexible and effective.

EMERGING POWERS

A lack of industry self-regulation, on the contrary, will force regulators to be less tolerant and implement stricter regulatory concepts and more rigid regulatory measures. Currently, NIFA has more than member organizations, covering institutions in banking, securities, insurance, funds, futures, trust, asset management, consumer finance, and credit reporting, as well as Internet finance institutions in payment, investment, money management, and lending. The members also include institutions in financial institutions and financial research and education, covering main business forms as well as emerging ones in Internet Finance in China.

NIFA established special committees covering areas including statistics, P2P loans, credit building, cyber and information security, and mobile finance, giving full play to the functions of the committees on discussing issues, making planning, and implementing actions by relying on self-regulation and self-discipline of the industry. Taking into account top-level design and prioritizing urgent needs, NIFA founded the Research Institute of Internet Finance Standards to plan the standards system of Internet Finance, publish and implement management measures for group standards, and formulated seminal standards covering areas such as information disclosure, contract specifications, debt collection, and Internet Finance cloud computing.

NIFA launched the Internet Finance Registration and Disclosure Services Platform, connecting more than P2P infomediaries, many of which disclosed their institutional, operational, and financial information to the public for the first time on the platform. NIFA has built a multi-layered, multi-dimensional training system, covering more than 1, trainees and nearly all member institutions in the past year.

NIFA actively organizes activities such as quiz contests and campus lectures on Internet Finance, promoting the financial literacy among consumers. In addition, NIFA issued timely alerts on cryptocurrency and ICO, helping investors to enhance their ability to identify risks and achieving considerable influence both at home and abroad. As for research, NIFA has carried out targeted research on empirical issues such as the various business forms of Internet Finance, and the application of RegTech and blockchain in finance, as well as hot issues or difficult issues such as the orderly phasing-out of P2P loan platforms, digital currency, ICO-related risks and regulation, achieving multiple research results.

With rapid development, however, certain problems and challenges are being exposed and accumulating, calling for serious attention and resolution with systemic plans. In addition, the big data model and pricing system which FinTech relies on, have not yet gone through the test of complete economic cycles, leading to uncertainties about the efficacy of the models during economic downturns in particular. For example, FinTech, in providing financial services across markets, institutions, and geographic regions, also renders financial risks more contagious and the scope of potential damage greater.

In speeding up and increasing the flow of funding, it also accelerates the rate of spreading risks and financial losses. At best it can justify investments where there are clear market failures, such as the presence of positive externalities e. But as the history of innovation shows, the great extent of public commitment that is required entails more of a market-making and market-shaping approach than a simple market-fixing one Mazzucato, Furthermore, the systems-of-innovation literature has also not adequately addressed the issue of the quantity and quality of public investment needed to address the market-creating process.

In this paper we review evidence of market-shaping public financing of innovation, and discuss views of the state that are helpful for understanding it. Section II confronts market-failure arguments with the recent history of financing innovation, especially in the IT and pharmaceutical sectors in the US. It is argued that the quantity and quality of public finance for innovation cannot be explained through a standard market-fixing framework. Here we focus on the need to understand the market-making and market-shaping, not only market-fixing role of public finance.

We conclude that without a market-making agenda, climate change targets and the required technological revolution in energy will not take off. The idea that the state is at best a fixer of markets has its roots in neoclassical economic theory, which sees competitive markets as bringing about optimal outcomes if left to themselves.


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On top of this, the literature on systems of innovation has also highlighted the presence of system failures—for example, the lack of linkages between science and industry—requiring the creation of new institutions enabling those linkages Lundvall, And yet the recent history of capitalism depicts a different story—one in which it is the state that has often been responsible for actively shaping and creating markets and systems, not just fixing them; and for creating wealth, not just redistributing it. Indeed, markets themselves are outcomes of the interactions between both public and private actors, as well as actors from the third sector and from civil society.

More thinking is required to understand the role of the public sector in the market creation process itself. This is what the work on mission-oriented innovation has argued Mowery, , but only indirectly. Missions are about the creation of new markets, not the fixing of new ones—and yet this framework has not debunked the market-fixing policy framework.

In her book The Entrepreneurial State a , Mazzucato has attempted to use this work to consider the lead investment role of public agencies, taking on extreme risk in the face of uncertainty, which then generates animal spirits and investment in the private sector. Before considering what a new framework for thinking about financing innovation might look like, we first consider key evidence to show the degree to which the market failure framework is limited in its ability to justify the depth and breadth of public activity.

We focus on three key areas: i public investments spread across the entire innovation chain, not only key areas where positive externalities or incomplete information are present; ii the mission-oriented, hence market-making, nature of the organizations involved in the investing activity; iii the high level of risk taking and portfolio management that an entrepreneurial state perspective entails that results in a counter- and pro-cyclical nature of public investments.

Yet while technological revolutions have always required publicly funded science, what is often ignored by the market-failure framework are the complementary public funds that were spent by a network of different institutions further on in the innovation process as well. In other words, the public sector has been crucial for basic research as well as for applied research, and for providing early-stage high-risk finance to innovative companies willing to invest.

It was also important for the direct creation of markets through procurement policy Edler and Georghiou, and bold demand policies that have allowed new technologies to diffuse Perez, Thus, Perez argues that without the policies for suburbanization, mass production would not have had the effect it did across the economy. Downstream investments included the use of procurement policy to help create markets for small companies, through the public Small Business Innovation Research SBIR scheme, which historically has provided more early-stage high-risk finance to small and medium-sized companies than private venture capital Keller and Block, , as Figure 3 shows.

Source : Reproduced with permission from Keller and Block Source : Mazzucato a , p. Likewise, Compaq and Intel benefited from early-stage funding to set up the companies, not from venture capital but from the SBIR programme. While it is a common perception that it is private venture capital that funds start-ups, evidence shows that most high-growth innovative companies receive their early-stage high-risk finance from public sources, such as Yozma in Israel Breznitz and Ornston, ; venture funds in public banks Mazzucato and Penna, ; and the SBIR programme funds in the US Keller and Block, Venture capital entered the biotech industry mainly in the late s and early s, meanwhile the state had already made most large-scale investments in the s and s Lazonick and Tulum, ; Vallas et al.

Instead, it deliberately targeted industries and even enterprises with a massive amount of public venture capital assistance Figure 2. Crucial to this public funding was the nature of the organizations themselves: a decentralized network of strategic mission-oriented agencies Mazzucato, The vision behind these agencies is something that is not foreseen in the market failure perspective: they do not see their job as fixing markets but as actively creating them.

Mission statements can help direct public funds in ways that are more targeted than, say, simply helping all small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs. Examples of mission statements are below:. Missions are problem specific, using innovations in multiple sectors to achieve concrete problems—whether for military purposes, or for achieving targets in areas such as energy e.

Yet evidence shows that the mission-oriented agencies have been critical across the business cycle, not only to stimulate investment during recesssions. Their budget has been increased during periods of sustained economic expansion i. Innovation is highly uncertain: for every success e. This requires a lead investor understanding of public funds that goes beyond the need to correct for asymmetric information. It is not a matter of lacking information, but rather the willingness to engage in big thinking, and its underlying uncertainty.

In other words, public investments in innovation have been critical for sustaining high levels of risk-taking and innovation across different stages of the business cycle. More generally, this section has supplied evidence for continual, widespread, and directed public financing of innovation—across the entire innovation chain—that a market failure framework has difficulty justifying. The market itself—in different sectors—has been an outcome of this investment Polanyi, ; Evans, ; Mazzucato, Hence rather than accusing public actors of crowding out market actors, more research needs to be applied to building an alternative theory that acknowledges the large influence of public actors, and shines a better light on how public finance of innovation impacts the evolution of markets.

Given the historical evidence above, it is important to build a framework that can both describe past public investments that transcended fixing markets, as well as justifying and evaluating future investments. It is rather one in which markets are deeply embedded in social and political institutions Evans, , and where markets themselves are outcomes of social and political processes.

Polanyi analyses not only how markets form over the course of economic development. His thinking can also be applied to understanding the most modern forms of markets, and in particular those driven by innovation. As discussed above, market failure theory provides little guidance for the more ambitious role that the state has historically played in shaping and creating markets, and not just fixing them. This requires what Schumpeter [] , p.

A dynamic economic framework that could be useful for justifying public policies must account for the role of the state in directing investments, creating markets, and taking on risks and uncertainties as investor of first resort, not only lender of last resort. This approach emphasizes system—rather than market—failures and the need to build horizontal institutions that allow new knowledge to diffuse across the entire economy Lundvall, Innovation policy, in this historical framework, takes the shape of measures that support basic research; aim to develop and diffuse general-purpose technologies; expand certain economic sectors that are crucial for innovation; and promote infrastructural development Freeman and Soete, It does not merely facilitate innovation through playing-field-levelling horizontal policies that prescribe no direction.

Examples of such direction-setting policies abound, including different technology policy initiatives in the US Chiang, ; Mowery et al. However, the literature has not integrated empirical insights to provide a fully fledged theory. Consequently, studies have resulted in ad-hoc theoretical understandings and policy advice on how to manage mission-oriented initiatives, without tackling the key justifications for mission-oriented finance that contrast with those of market failure. In a market failure framework, ex-ante analysis aims to estimate benefits and costs including those associated with government failures , while ex-post analysis seeks to verify whether the estimates were correct and the market failure successfully addressed.

Instead, a mission-oriented framework requires continuous and dynamic monitoring and evaluation throughout the innovation policy process.

Development Research Center of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

The state must therefore be able to learn from past experiences in mission-oriented innovation policy. Systemic mission-oriented policies must be based on a sound and clear diagnosis and prognosis foresight. Foresight is necessary in order to scrutinize future opportunities and also identify how strengths may be used to overcome weaknesses. This diagnosis should be used in devising concrete strategies, new institutions, and new linkages in the innovation system Mazzucato, Contemporary missions aim to address broader challenges that require long-term commitment to the development of many technological solutions Foray et al.

The current active role of the public sector in tackling renewable energy investments can be seen as a new mission in relation to the green economy Mazzucato and Penna, b. In fact, these challenges—which can be environmental, demographic, economic, or social—have entered innovation policy agendas as key justifications for action, providing strategic direction for funding policies and innovation efforts. Alternative approaches to innovation policy, such as those described above, have questioned particular aspects of the economic dynamics embodied in neoclassical theory.

However, they have not disputed the underlying assumption of business being the only risk-taker. The entrepreneurial state agenda has sought to challenge the notion of the entrepreneur being embodied in private business, and policy-making being an activity outside of the entrepreneurial process Mazzucato, a. This perspective builds on studies in industry dynamics that have documented a weak relationship between entry of new firms into industries and the current levels of profits in those industries Vivarelli, Firm entry appears to be driven by expectations about future growth opportunities, even when such expectations are overly optimistic Dosi and Lovallo, Business tends to enter new sectors only after the high risk and uncertainty has been absorbed by the public sector, especially in areas of high capital intensity.

As described in the previous section, this has been the case with the IT revolution Block and Keller, , the biotechnology industry Lazonick and Tulum, , nanotechnology Motoyama et al. Moreover, private venture capital funds have focused on financing firms mid-stage, which had previously received early-stage financing by public programmes, such as the SBIR programmes Keller and Block, Unlike in the theory of technology adoption of a developing economy, where the technology already exists elsewhere, an entrepreneurial state does not foresee what the details of the innovation are, but it knows a general area that is ripe for development, or where pushing the boundaries of knowledge are desirable.

The state welcomes and engages with Knightian uncertainty for the exploration and production of new products which lead to economic growth. Then public financing of innovation comprises investing in the earliest-stage research and development; creating and funding networks that bring together business, academia, and finance; funding high-risk ventures; and investing in high-risk demonstration and deployment. In sum, a theoretical framework of public financing of innovation starting from these preconceptions would emphasize the influence that public institutions take on the course of transformative innovation and their risky active involvement in financing of that innovation along the innovation chain.

We next illustrate this with reference to a current societal challenge. We consider the climate change challenge which is widely seen as requiring not only a transformation of the energy system but also on a short time scale, and on which leading climate scientists and economists are currently reaffirming that not enough is done and not fast enough Guardian, a , b.

Not enough progress is made in replacing the greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels with a renewable power supply, and one bottleneck is the finance for renewable energy innovation. Innovation in renewable energy has been especially difficult to finance for private actors because of the competition from incumbent fossil fuels.

Profits have been dependent on public subsidies that ensure temporary competitiveness. IRENA, like others, does not specify the sources of the historical or future finance for the renewable energy sector. In fact, from the market failure perspective, the damages from climate change are a negative externality of energy production, hence require a corrective tax, while innovation requires correcting the positive externality of knowledge-spillovers.

But existing public-sector policies fail to tax carbon, not least due to the difficulty of agreeing on one tax internationally, and subsidies have been employed instead. This approach, however, overlooks what the public sector in fact does, besides giving subsidies in the market for electricity producers. The public sector is much more active in directly financing renewable energy innovation, creating markets, and, in the process, taking on high risks.

First of all, public actors in renewable energy innovation are active along the innovation chain.

Farming start-up brings innovation to rural China

But public actors are distributed and highly active further along the chain: more applied research and development takes place in such diverse settings as the German Fraunhofer Institutes e. Government activity is also widespread at the demonstration level of new technologies; a recent study of demonstration projects first of a kind in concentrating solar power, wind power, and biofuels finds that the median public share of funds financing those projects is above 50 per cent Nemet et al.

At the subsequent market-creation and deployment stage, another variety of public actors are active, ranging from government agencies and investment funds, through tremendous amounts invested by state banks, to state-owned utilities, which have pioneered European offshore wind farm deployment Mazzucato and Semieniuk, In fact, at the deployment stage, publicly controlled organizations where the public has at least a 51 per cent share for stock-market listed organizations , are now responsible for almost half of global asset finance for utility scale power plants Mazzucato and Semieniuk, For smaller capacity, public actors provide important demand-side finance, such as subsidies for rooftop photovoltaic cells and individual wind turbines in Germany by the German development bank, KfW KfW, , and also larger-scale solar and hydro power plants in China by its Ministry of Finance Lo, Figure 5 summarizes the discussion, by replacing the public actors from other sectors, shown above in Figure 1 , with those specific to renewable energy innovation finance.

The data also show that this variety of public actors is not neutral, but gives directions to innovation. Public actors invest in portfolios that favour one or another technology. Figure 6 shows the portfolios of asset finance for deployment invested by four different types of public actors, aggregated over individual organizations within each type. The shares are calculated separately for two periods: —8, and — Clearly, the different types of actors held widely differing portfolios.

In the aggregate, government agencies invested in a relatively balanced portfolio across technologies—governments have not picked one winner technology, but supported innovation across a suite of alternatives within renewable energy. However, state banks were in turn more diversified than publicly owned utilities, which, outside China, targeted the financing of wind energy, and especially offshore wind investments after This distinguished them not only from other public actors but also from privately owned utilities whose share of investments in offshore was lower than that for state banks they invested heavily in less risky onshore wind.

While the review of organizations was selective, it emerges that in countries with a strong renewable energy sector, public organizations were active along the innovation chain, which is typical of the market-shaping behaviour of the public actors we discussed above. Notes : The share of the portfolio invested in each of 11 technologies is on the y-axis. The dark bars show the share of investment in the period —8, the light bars the share of investment in the period —14 that go to a particular technology.

CSP stands for concentrating solar power, PV stands for photovoltaics. Marine refers to energy gained from the ocean, whether through wave or tidal energy. Data sources are explained in Mazzucato and Semieniuk Many of the reviewed public actors are also mission oriented. Innovation in the energy sector has historically been driven by missions. In the s, the mission was to boost national security by reducing dependence on the then expensive crude oil from OPEC countries.

As with previous missions, these investments are not justified by correcting a market failure but by achieving a goal. In this specific case: the halting of global warming. Thus the ARPA-E mission is to catalyse the development of transformational, high-impact energy technologies. The mission of the German KfW Group is to support change and encourage forward-looking ideas— in Germany, Europe, and throughout the world.

We shape technology. We design products. We improve methods and techniques. We open up new vistas. Agencies in the energy sector have also been able to attract top talent. In sum, a slate of the most influential public institutions funding renewable energy research do not understand themselves as fixing market or system failures—they see themselves as pushing new and exciting horizons. Lastly, there is also evidence in the renewable energy sector, and clean tech more generally, for public actors leading in risk-taking across the business cycle.

The technologies listed in Figure 6 above are ordered according to an increasing degree of technology and market riskiness from left to right. Thus, publicly owned utilities take on considerable risk by investing a large share of their portfolio in offshore wind.


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  • In a companion piece Mazzucato and Semieniuk, , we have not only justified this risk ordering, which is ordinal and suggests that onshore wind is no more risky than any other technology investment on average, but does not attempt to quantify the amount of risk taken; we have also shown that according to this measure public actors hold on average a much riskier portfolio than private actors in asset finance, at least when excluding the Chinese utilities charged with onshore wind diffusion. Here, we push this research one step further and analyse how high risk-taking by private actors is correlated with co-investment by public actors.

    We single out investments into high-risk areas only. Figure 7 correlates the private investment into high-risk assets with the participation of public actors in private high-risk finance. It plots the share of total private funds invested in high-risk assets in any single year against the share of these high-risk funds that are invested into an asset in which at least one public actor is also investing. In , only about 1 per cent of private funds went into high-risk projects and, of these, only 18 per cent had a public co-investor.

    Both shares increased over time, so much so that a decade later, in , around 10 per cent of private funds went towards high-risk investments, while the share of these high-risk projects co-funded by a public organization stood at above 50 per cent. The correlation is high indicated by the grey linear fit , when one excludes three exceptional years— through —during which massive Keynesian stabilization programmes kicked in, inundating markets with grants and loan guarantees.

    That coincided with private actors financing more risky projects with private funds only but backed by public guarantees.



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