EV manufacturers under shadow of new chip shortage
24 July 2023
Beijing's announcement of trade controls from August 1st, is expected to disrupt global supply chains and intensify the trade war with the US.
Chinese export control restrictions underscore the need to diversify supply chains.
On July 3, 2023, China announced that gallium and germanium, two rare minerals that are widely used in the production of semiconductors and other high technology goods, would require a license for export from China from August 1st. Other derivative minerals, like gallium nitride, gallium oxide and zone-refined germanium ingot, would be subject to these restrictions as well.
Gallium, a soft silver metal, finds application in producing compound semiconductor wafers for electronic circuits, semiconductors, and light-emitting diodes. On the other hand, germanium is used in manufacturing fibre optics to facilitate data and information transfer.
High-tech products and applications are at greatest risk.
Gallium, germanium, and related minerals play crucial roles in various high-tech products and applications. Gallium is essential for specific semiconductors used in phone chargers, electric vehicles, and both commercial and military sectors. Germanium enhances silicon conductivity, crucial for fibre-optic systems, solar cells, especially in aerospace and satellite applications.
This step is a part of an escalating worldwide competition for technological dominance, wherein China holds the position of the world's largest supplier of both metals, as reported by a recent European Union study on critical raw materials.