Sharing know-how – Building bigger markets

Dr Yinbiao Shu, President, State Grid Corporation of China

By Claire Marchand

IEC Global Visions interviewed Dr Yinbiao Shu, President, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the biggest utility in the world. Shu explains how active participation in IEC work has enabled SGCC to first build a reliable infrastructure in China and now to contribute significantly to global power technology advancement.

For Shu, active participation in IEC technical work has many advantages: it hastens SGCC’s technology innovation, strengthens its competitive advantage, opens potential new markets and helps to be at the forefront of market trends. He adds that as part of the IEC community, his company can improve product competitiveness and expand market share. “I would say it can also help a company improve its profile, increase global influence, and ensure that technologies are included in International Standards.” For him, the benefits of active participation outweigh the efforts a company puts into contributing to IEC work.

Impact of standardization on China

On the impact of international standardization on SGCC and the Chinese economy in general, Shu explains that IEC Standards significantly contribute to improving product quality, productivity and efficiency, reducing production costs, improving management skills and business competitiveness. Overall, they have helped improve China’s standard of living.

SGCC did adopt a great number of IEC International Standards in the past but for the past 10 years, the reverse has been true: with the rapid development of Chinese technology, more and more SGCC standards have become IEC Standards. As Shu puts it, “SGCC, the largest utility in the world, has become a cutting-edge global research organization in areas such as ultra-high voltage direct current (DC) transfer, Smart Grid, large scale renewable energy integration, and electric vehicle charging networks. Through our R&D work, many national and corporate standards were established, allowing us to develop mature technologies that can be widely used in daily life.”

International Standards a must for today’s complex power systems

With the electrical power industry going through a period of emerging technical innovations – Smart Grid, electric vehicles, energy storage – the role of the IEC is more important than ever. More complex power operation systems, as well as the introduction of new energies require close cooperation to help accelerate innovation.

Applying IEC International Standards to infrastructure development leads to higher quality outcomes. For Shu, it is essential that the whole spectrum of companies and businesses in the electrotechnical field be represented in the IEC. Their participation in the standardization process ensures that new Standards are functional and serve the public interest.

Protecting IP

Contrary to what some entrepreneurs fear, Shu thinks intellectual property (IP) infringement is not an issue. Because the IEC has strict systems in place and each country has its own IP laws, active participation in IEC work doesn’t affect intellectual property rights. For him, the IEC helps protect IP: “[…] when technologies are included in IEC Standards, it is clear who they belong to and therefore they are automatically protected.”

Commitment to the IEC

Shu says that his career has tremendously benefited from his involvement in IEC work. He worked as an electrical engineer at a time when China started its transition through reform and opening-up policy and developed its electrical power industry. Today, as President of SGCC, he stresses the importance of his role as IEC Vice-President: “The IEC […] allows me to share new technologies with peers and competitors from all over the world, exchange ideas and views on current topics, compare and combine Chinese technical standards with International Standards, and consequently increase the global competitiveness of Chinese technologies and products.”

Dr Shu Yinbiao, Convenor of the MSB and IEC third Vice-President  Dr Yinbiao Shu, President, State Grid Corporation of China