(Reuters) - Japanese manufacturers, hit hard by soaring rare earth prices caused by China’s restrictive export quotas, are planning to relocate some of their production to China to resolve their supply issues.
By setting up shop in China, where some 95 percent of the world’s rare earths are produced, manufacturers can obtain the metals more cheaply, and then export the finished products outside the quota system.
Here are some Japanese companies that have announced plans for production in China in 2011:
Showa Denko KK, which uses rare earths to produce magnet alloys, will ramp up output at its existing plant in China to 3,000 tonnes a year from 2,000 tonnes.
Hoya Corp, which uses rare earths to produce optical glass for digital cameras, will start up production in China in December.
Asahi Glass, which uses rare earths in LCD glass, will set up its second volume production base inside China in 2012.
Hitachi Metals, the world’s top maker of high-powered magnets, is considering moving some production of its neodymium magnets to the United States and China. The company could move as much as 20 percent of its magnet output to China, according to Japanese media reports.
Source: Company new releases, Japan media reports
Compiled by Yuko Inoue