“Rare earth” resources such as indium, gallium and lithium are essential components of many high-tech devices, from battery technologies to solar cells and wind turbines. China is far and away the world’s leading rare earth exporter, controlling 95% of the world’s resources.
Chinese officials recently announced plans to decrease rare earth shipments by 72%, causing anxiety amongst global clean tech firms. However, it will reportedly offer access to restricted resources to companies that move operations to China.
Many companies are already picking up and moving to the region because of the attractiveness of low labor costs and proximity to Asia’s fast-growing renewables sector. Many analysts expect this moving trend to speed up as clean tech firms take precautions for potential limitations on rare earth exports that are essential to production.