The Rising Role of Rare Elements: China’s Stance and the World’s Response


The current global environment is marked by significant shifts, both technological and geopolitical. Amidst these shifts, a certain segment of metals, specifically rare and precious ones like Gallium, Germanium, and Terahertz integrated photonic devices, have suddenly found themselves at the center of global interest. Here’s a closer look at what’s happening.

1. The Technological Upsurge: Why These Elements Matter

  • Terahertz Integrated Photonic Devices: A recent report by the American Institute of Physics highlights the current and future potential of terahertz integrated photonic devices. These devices, with applications ranging from high-speed communication to medical imaging, signify the next step in optical advancements.
  • Gallium Nitride (GaN): GaN, as discussed by, is potentially the future of semiconductor technology. The durability and efficiency of Gallium Arsenide solar cells further showcase the potential of this metal in sustainable energy.
  • Recycling End-of-life Solar Cells: As solar energy continues to gain traction, the need for effective recycling methods for used solar cells has become paramount. IIT Mandi’s recent study illustrates the benefits of recycling these cells, ensuring sustained energy generation.
  • New Innovations in Polishing: Meller’s recent introduction of the Gugolz Optical Polishing Pitch, designed to meet specific user finishing requirements, underscores the advancements in the optics sector.

2. China’s Dominance and its Repercussions

  • The Japan News and Asahi Shimbun Digital report concerns regarding China’s influence on vital rare earths essential for clean energy transition. China’s restrictions on exports of chipmaking materials such as Gallium and Germanium have sent ripples throughout the tech industry. These restrictions are seen as running counter to free trade tenets and are a direct response to US sanctions.
  • Such moves have led to a global endeavor to reduce dependence on China for these crucial elements. As Devdiscourse reports, the world is now working to loosen China’s grip on these essential rare earths.

3. The Western Dilemma

  • The West is in a precarious position. As EURACTIV suggests, while China faces an uphill climb in its strategies, the West, too, has challenges. The need for unpopular decisions is imminent, especially given the recent developments.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 Critical Materials Assessment and the recent lobbying efforts by the U.S. chip industry indicate the urgency of the situation. The West is acutely aware of the potential implications of China’s dominance in this sector.

4. Other Global Players

  • Beyond China and the West, other nations and entities are also deeply involved. For instance, the EU’s greenlight to France’s subsidy to Taiwan for EV battery production suggests new alliances and collaborations. Furthermore, reports like those from ETEnergyWorld and emphasize the importance of research and innovation in determining leadership in this evolving sector.

5. Economic Implications

  • China’s actions and the world’s response have profound economic implications. The fluctuating demand for base metals, as reported by Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, and the specific challenges faced by industries dependent on these materials underscore the broader economic impact.


In an increasingly interdependent world, the tussle for dominance in the domain of rare metals and semiconductor technology is more than just a trade battle. It represents a new frontier in global geopolitics and technological prowess. As the world grapples with these challenges, the path forward will be marked by collaboration, innovation, and strategic foresight.


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