U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off the supply of chips and processors to Huawei Technologies Co. is hitting China’s biggest tech company where it hurts – its dependence on other nations for the semiconductors and software in smartphones and networking gear.
So when Chinese President Xi Jinping showed up days later at a rare earths processing plant, many observers saw a message in the visit: the U.S. has its own tech vulnerabilities, too.
1. What are rare earths?
A group of 17 chemically related elements found in mineral form that have magnetic and optical properties useful for making electronics more efficient. Electric vehicle makers rely on them for lighter-weight battery and motor components, while large wind turbines tend to use rare-earth-based magnets. Continue Reading →