The Promise and Pitfalls of Government Guidance Funds
Forthcoming at The China Quarterly
27 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2022 Last revised: 9 Jan 2023
Date Written: August 25, 2022
In 2005, the Chinese government deployed a new financial instrument to accelerate technological catch-up: government guidance funds (GGFs). These are funds established by central and local governments partnering with private venture capital to invest in state-selected priority sectors. GGFs promise to significantly broaden capital access for high-tech ventures that normally struggle to secure funding. The aggregate numbers are impressive: by 2021, there were more than 1,800 GGFs, with an estimated target capital size of USD 1.52 trillion. In practice, however, there are notable gaps between policy ambition and outcomes. Our analysis finds that realized capital fell significantly short of targets, particularly in non-coastal regions, and only 26 per cent of GGFs had met their target capital size by 2021. Several factors account for this policy implementation gap: the lack of quality private-sector partners and ventures, leadership turnover, and the inherent difficulties in evaluating the performance of GGFs.
Keywords: US-China competition, technology, industrial policies, government guidance funds, policy gap
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation