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    Demand from photovoltic industry brings new highlight to high purity gallium market
    ----Interview with Shuguang He
    General Manager
    Yingtan Mailin Matels Co.
    Yingtan Mailin Gallium Industry Co., Ltd. was established in 2018, focusing on the development and production of gallium series products. The current main products cover high-purity gallium from 99.999%min to 99.99999%min, gallium granules, and high-purity gallium trioxide. The production capacity of high-purity gallium reaches 80tpy and the production capacity of high-purity gallium trioxide achieves 25tpy. Currently, the company has established long-term and stable cooperative relations with major domestic downstream consumers and clients in Japan, South Korea, Europe, America and other countries and regions.

    Asian Metal: Hi, Mr. He, thank you for accepting the invitation. First of all, please briefly introduce your company’s business and your personal experience.

    Mr. He: Yingtan Mailin Gallium Industry Co., Ltd. was established in 2018, focusing on the development and production of gallium series products. The current main products cover high-purity gallium from 99.999%min to 99.99999%min, gallium granules, and high-purity gallium trioxide. The production capacity of high-purity gallium reaches 80tpy and the production capacity of high-purity gallium trioxide achieves 25tpy. Currently, the company has established long-term and stable cooperative relations with major domestic downstream consumers and clients in Japan, South Korea, Europe, America and other countries and regions. I am also fortunate to have been engaging in production, business and management in the leading minor metal companies since I started work in 2000. I have witnessed the ups and downs, and developments of the gallium industry in the past years, during which I have made many friends. I founded Shenzhen Mailin Metal Co., Yingtan Mailin Gallium industry Co. and Hong Kong branch in 2018. Companies in Shenzhen and Hong Kong are mainly responsible for trading and investment activities in minor metal products such as germanium, bismuth, indium, tellurium and selenium, etc.

    Asian Metal: What is the current operating status of your gallium product series?

    Mr. He: We are currently mainly engaged in the recovery of high-purity gallium products, gallium oxide products and gallium-containing materials. High-purity gallium products: We designed and constructed high-purity gallium from 99.9999%min to 99.99999%min with the production capacity of 80tpy, such as pellets, special profiles and bottles. The core management team has been engaged in the production of high-purity gallium for more than 15 years. We hold the most stable high-purity factories in China and can customize high-purity gallium products according to customer requirements. Gallium oxide products: We put high-purity gallium oxide products around 4N-5N on the market in 2020, and the market has received a strong response, and the supply is currently in short supply. Recycling of gallium-containing materials: We have established strategic partnerships with qualified partners to provide our customers with value-added recycling services.

    Asian Metal: In which areas does Mr. He thinks the current high-purity gallium is mainly used?

    Mr. He: Due to the special physical and chemical properties of metal gallium, high-purity gallium is currently mainly used for compound semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide, gallium phosphide, and gallium nitride, which account for about 50%, and the other 50% of high-purity gallium is used for superconducting Materials, photovoltaics, alloys and other industries.

    Asian Metal: In 2020, gallium metal’s consumption kept strong, so which area(s) contributes to the demand increase of high-purity gallium?

    Mr. He: Affected by the COVID-19 in 2020, gallium metal prices showed a situation from low to high. With the recovery of the LED industry in the Q4, 2020 and the demand of overseas restocking, the demand of high-purity gallium in the compound semiconductor industry returned to the peak level in 2019. The photovoltaic industry uses gallium instead of boron as a dopant to improve product performance, bringing new highlights to the demand of high-purity gallium.

    Asian Metal: Since the beginning of 2020, Chinese gallium metal prices kept increasing. As of the end of February 2021, the mainstream prices reached to RMB2,550-2,600/kg (USD394-401/kg) EXW D/P. However, as downstream consumers’ demand decreased, as of the beginning of May, the mainstream prices dropped sharply to RMB2,100-2,150/kg (USD324-332/kg) EXW D/P. Where do you think gallium metal prices would go in May?

    Mr. He: At present, the mainstream prices of gallium metal hovered at RMB2,100-2,150/kg (USD324-332/kg) EXW D/P. We difficultly to purchase the spot price below RMB2,100/kg (USD324/kg). I think the prices would hardly decrease further in the short term because major producers generally hold long-term orders with high prices in April which is basically much higher than RMB2,100/kg (USD324/kg). Only few producers could accept current prices with limited stocks. As downstream consumers would start purchasing in early May while gallium metal 99.99%min supply tends tight, we expect prices would even rebound. In addition, overseas buyers didn't purchase in April, and we expect them to concentrate their purchases in May. The decline in the price of gallium metal will also result in continued wait-and-see from high-purity gallium users. As a metal gallium consumer, we hope that the price would remain stable. Because the current production capacity is basically stable and the process has not changed, we expect that the short-term and medium-term prices would not fall back to around RMB1,000/kg (USD156/kg) in Q1 and Q2 of 2020. We would also pay close attention to changes in the supply and demand side and make strategic adjustments.

    Asian Metal: Are your company's main consumers of high-purity gallium in China or other countries?

    Mr. He: We are market-oriented. At present, we mainly cater to domestic customers. We also have some exporting business and the account was about 15% in 2020.

    Asian Metal: Are there any restrictions on the export of high-purity gallium? What are the advantages and disadvantages in international competition?

    Mr. He: The main market of semiconductor compounds is in China and the export volume of high-purity gallium does not account for a high proportion of the total consumption of gallium metal. The export of gallium metal needs to apply for an export license, and because gallium metal belongs to a dangerous goods, the export must comply with the international eight types of dangerous goods transportation requirements. Because of the low melting point of gallium metal, we should pay attention to prevent high-purity gallium from oxidizing and melting during long-distance transportation. China is the main produce country of gallium metal, about 90% in the world. Compared with foreign high-purity manufacturers, our high-purity product quality can completely replace foreign products. We have a cost advantage. The scale of foreign high-purity companies is not Big.

    Asian Metal: What new projects will your company launch in the next three years?

    Mr. He: Mailin Gallium is positioned as a one-stop service provider of the gallium industry chain. While improving the current projects to the best, we are also actively seeking opportunities for upstream and downstream cooperation and development.

    Asian Metal: Thank you for your wonderful sharing, I wish the business of Mailin gallium industry more prosperous!

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