In the absence of a national hydrogen energy policy, the Cities Clusters Program, together with various subsidy and industrial development policies, is the guiding force driving the adoption of fuel cell technology in China. Perhaps inspired by an earlier program organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2014, the Cities Clusters program is designed to take advantage of the differences between regions across China.
While the earlier UNDP program focused on promoting hydrogen technology in specific cities, the newer Cities Clusters Program focuses on, as the name implies, groups of cities that together possess the main components of a hydrogen energy supply chain. The cities in each cluster are, therefore, not strictly grouped by region, but by compatibility with a closed-loop supply chain. The Cities Clusters Program encourages independent development of the closed-loop clusters. While there is a general requirement that cities in the same cluster be close together this requirement is secondary to the primary requirement that the cluster contain all the components necessary for a closed-loop supply chain.