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BUSINESS & TECH

Why Does Lithium-Rich China Import So Much?

Qinghai province's Qarhan Salt Lake is home to one of China's biggest reserves of lithium. Photo: IC
Qinghai province's Qarhan Salt Lake is home to one of China's biggest reserves of lithium. Photo: IC

China’s enthusiasm for new-energy vehicles has sent its demand for lithium — a raw material used in electric car batteries — into the fast lane, boosting the metal’s prices at the same time.

The cumulative number of new-energy vehicles that have been sold in China is approaching 1.8 million cars, accounting for half of the global market. If all goes according to the Chinese government’s plan, 5 million new-energy vehicles will have been sold in the country by 2020.

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