Critical Risks Inherent to the Transfer Phase of Public-Private Partnership Water Projects in China

Fengyu Bao, Igor Martek, Chuan Chen, Qihong Wu, Albert P.C. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects progress through separate phases, with each phase subject to unique risks, thereby requiring a phase-based strategy for managing risks. To date, most research on PPP risk has emphasized phases, with an obvious neglect of the final, transfer phase (TP) of PPP projects, in which the project ownership reverts to government. This study identified and evaluated critical risk categories of the TP, using China's PPP water sector as the context of analysis. A two-stage approach was adopted, including both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Seven critical transfer risk categories (CTRCs) were identified, namely overhaul risks, contract risks, posttransfer operation risks, residual value risks, political risks, information risks, and succeeding operator risks, of which three are unique to the TP. Expert recommendations were presented for the facilitation of a smooth transfer of water PPPs in China. The findings of this study contribute to the body of knowledge in PPP risk management, and the specialized research approach employed may be utilized in similar exploratory studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022006
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • China
  • Lifecycle
  • Public-private partnership (PPP)
  • Risk management
  • Transfer phase (TP)
  • Water sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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