China's first rare earth exchange has amassed almost two billion yuan in trade since opening in March, a recent report has shown.
Gu Ming, general manager of the Baotou Rare Earth Products Exchange, said that by the end of September, more than 9,700 tonnes of rare earths have been traded, with the total turnover reaching 1.7 billion yuan (277 million U.S. dollars).
"The latest data is sufficient proof that the exchange has been in good operation," Gu said.
Located in Baotou City, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the exchange was initiated by Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co. (BSRE), China's leading rare earth producer, and another 12 firms and institutions with a registered capital of 120 million yuan (19.32 million U. S. dollars).
Zhang Zhong, general manager of BSRE, praised the exchange for its significance and influence in the industry, as its initiators could obtain 80 percent of China's total rare earth ore and products each year respectively.
"Our annual export quota takes up 79 percent of the country's total, illustrating the importance of the exchange," Zhang said.
Since its debut, the electronic trading platform has become a magnet for both domestic and foreign companies, with more than 90 involved in its trading, and its influence is still expanding, Gu said.
Yang Zhanfeng, dean of Baotou Research Institute of Rare Earths, said that the exchange has effectively regulated the industry of the precious ore and enhanced transparency, as companies all trade on the same platform with the same standard.
China is the world's largest rare earth producer and exporter, accounting for more than 90 percent of the world's supply. However, the country lacks pricing power in the global market and wild price swings of resources have had a negative effect on Chinese producers.
Rare earth metals are vital for manufacturing high-tech products ranging from smartphones and wind turbines to electric car batteries and missiles.