© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. China's industrial sector dominates the country's total energy consumption, and improving energy efficiency in that sector is crucial to help China reach its energy and carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals. There are many energy efficiency policies in China, but the motivation and willingness of enterprises to improve energy efficiency has weakened. This article first identifies barriers that enterprises face to be self-motivated to implement energy efficiency measures and then categorizes these barriers into four categories: awareness, information, technical capacity, and financial availability. It then reviews international policies and programs to improve energy efficiency, and evaluates how these policies have helped to address the barriers identified. We found that policies and programs in energy efficiency and carbon reduction need to go hand in hand to incentivize companies, and that those policies and programs send clearer signals and help change enterprises' decisions when they are persistent but dynamic. Our specific policy recommendations to China fall under three key categories: identification of energy efficiency potential, workforce development, and market channels for energy efficiency financing. This article is categorized under: Energy and Climate > Economics and Policy Energy Efficiency > Economics and Policy Energy Efficiency > Climate and Environment.