China is restricting export of two rare metals used in chip production

China restricts Gallium and Germanium
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China recently announced it’s restricting the export of Gallium and Germanium. These are the two essential metals used in semiconductors and electric vehicles. Now, this has raised serious concerns about the potential disruption it may cause to global supply chains. These restrictions are set to come into effect from August 1. Apparently, such restrictions further increase the ongoing technology war between China and the United States. They have far-reaching implications for various industries.

China’s Export Controls and Global Supply Chain Disruption

The decision made by China to restrict the export of Gallium and Germanium has significant tensions in the trade and technology war. This huge move has the potential to interrupt global supply chains and has an effect on industries, especially those heavily dependent on these metals.

China and US war

Company Responses to the Export Restrictions

Companies across different sectors have responded to China’s export restrictions with a mix of caution and readiness. The Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan expressed uncertainty about potential shortages. Meanwhile, Dowa Holdings, the top producer of high-purity gallium, is investigating the situation.

Fujitsu is not directly impacted by the regulations but continues to monitor market trends. Nichia Corp and Sumitomo Chemical are evaluating the impact, while Volkswagen keeps a close watch on the situation given the role of these metals in their automotive products.

The Significance of Gallium and Germanium in Semiconductor Industries

Gallium and germanium contribute to the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) by enhancing the performance of key components. Gallium is used in the creation of high-performance neodymium-iron-boron rare-earth magnets used in EV engines. It improves motor efficiency and power output.

Germanium, on the other hand, supports the production of specialized plastics and thermal-imaging systems utilized in EVs. These advancements help in addressing the challenges of range, efficiency, and overall performance in the rapidly expanding EV market.

Concerns and Uncertainties Surrounding Future Export Restrictions

The sudden announcement of these export restrictions and the forthcoming uncertainty have created significant concerns within the industry. Also, the unclear requirements and potential expansion of export controls raise questions about the future availability and pricing of gallium and germanium. Market participants are closely watching developments and assessing the potential impact on their operations and supply chains. The export restrictions on gallium and germanium underscore the challenges faced by global supply chains and the ongoing struggle for dominance in semiconductor technologies.

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