effective energy-saving technologies, and facilitating technology transfer and information exchanges among enterprises. Most managers would agree that improved energy efficiency is desirable. What they want to know is how this can be achieved in the most cost-effective fashion, without negatively affecting other, often more important, objectives of the company, such as profitability and product quality. Access to information and technologies, therefore, is a key to the success of an energy-conservation program.
Finally, there were several favorable macroeconomic and technological conditions for energy conservation. As real GDP grew at an average rate of about 10 percent a year, the demand for steel products in China was rising rapidly. Growing demand induced the iron and steel industry to expand existing facilities and/or build entirely new facilities, which provided many opportunities to introduce energy-saving technologies. Furthermore, China's steel industry upgraded its technologies in the 1980s primarily by technology transfer from advanced plants to less-efficient ones and by adopting technological advances already pioneered abroad. The stagnation and restructuring of the steel industry in developed countries in the 1980s allowed China to import secondhand equipment or facilities at relatively low costs. Energy-conservation activities in China's iron and steel industry between 1981 and 1987, partly by design and partly by coincidence, appeared to be the right projects implemented in the right place at the right time.