China is rich in rare earth metals. However, due to technological limits, most of this precious resource is exported as raw material forcing China to buy its products at much higher prices. But now some Chinese companies are improving technologies and getting involved in processing the resource.
Most of China's rare earth companies lie in coastal regions so they can receive orders from foreign enterprises and ship them off directly. But as the country upgrades its rare earth industry, more and more companies are moving to inland areas, such as Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province. There, the land is rich with the resource and the company can expand product development.
Wei An, General Manager of Ganzhou Dingnan Dahua Advanced Material Resources said "Previously, we just exported rare earth. Now we are focusing more on the domestic market."
Thanks to the abundance of the resource and government policies, many new energy companies have begun to develop their own products. Take rare earth alnico for example, it is a crucial material for wind power generators.
In a move to encourage product development, the central government has suspended contracts for rare earth mining.
Huang Tiansheng, Director of Heyuan Bureau of Land Resources said "We will spare no effort to develop deep processing in the near future so as to make our products more valuable."
Analysts say that moving to inland areas rich in rare earth could help companies lower costs, and also provide more jobs for local residents.