7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China

6th World Antimony Forum

April 23-24, 2018
Zhangjiajie, China

6th International Refractories & Abrasives Summit

April 19-20, 2018
Beijing, China

Interview with Zhao Likui, General Manager of Nanjing Germanium Co., Ltd.

Nanjing Germanium Co., Ltd mainly covers the production and distribution of germanium, indium, and gallium products (nearly 100 categories. In particular, we have recently developed 13 inch germanium single crystal, various mono-crystalline germanium slices, allotypic germanium granule, and large size infrared coating germanium pellet, etc. In each year, we can produce 150 tons of indium, which ranks No.1 in the world, 30 tons of germanium, which ranks No.1 in China and No.2 in the world, and 20 tons of gallium, including 15 tons of high-purity (7N or better) gallium, which ranks No.1 in the world. In addition, we can also produce 100 tons of electronic grade high-purity trichlorosilane in each year, which is specially used for vapor phase epitaxial growth of monocrystal line silicon, and wins us a good reputation among users. 80% of our products are exported.
Germanium market trend to become clear at the end of Q3
----Interview with Zhao Likui, General Manager of Nanjing Germanium Co., Ltd.
Asian Metal: Good afternoon Mr. Zhao! Thank you for granting Asian Metal this exclusive interview. Firstly, please talk about your views on the current economic environment. How will the performance of the Chinese economy influence the attitude towards the global economy.
Mr. Zhao: It is an open question. In my opinion, the financial crisis led to the economic recession, but the most difficult time of the financial crisis has already passed. Judging from the reports from Europe and the US, financial and banking sector earnings are better than expected, and the crisis is not as terrible as it was initially thought. In general, the financial and banking sectors will gradually get better in the second half of the year. However, the actual economic situation remains weak, and the performance of the US and European markets is mediocre.
China is a special case as itself is a huge market. Polices to rescue the market implemented by the Chinese central government have played a positive role in stimulating domestic demand. China's economy as well as the financial and banking sectors have obtained some achievements. China's economy is thriving, which is instrumental in improving the global economy. A number of developed countries have come to China to seek business opportunities when seeing the promising market in China. The prospect of the economy is hopeful.
Each nation attaches great importance to the development and the modernization, which will stimulate the consumption, either for industrial products or civil commodities, and then lead to more demand and further growth. With the weakening awareness of financial crisis, demand will gradually recover.
Asian Metal: The germanium metal price continued to decline in the first half of 2009, and current prices have gone down 44% compared with the high price around USD1,600/kg of last year. In your opinion, what is the reason for the price declining?
Mr. Zhao: Many people hoped the price to increase this April when the World Germanium Forum 2009 was held in Lijiang, but at that time I foresaw that the price would go down as the price trend lies with demand. In the course of stimulating domestic demand in China, the prices of the materials that are needed will be increasing. What China needs now are materials, such as steel, cement and basic materials (like oil, coal), to be used in the construction of infrastructure, high-speed railways, bridges, tunnels, so prices of the above commodities are going up. Germanium is not needed in this respect, so its price does not rise either in China or at abroad.
Asian Metal: To which extent does the economic crisis influence demand for germanium from downstream consumers? Does demand for germanium decrease significantly?
Mr. Zhao: It is sure that the economic crisis does impact germanium demand. Either in military or civil sector, there is a decline in demand for germanium, and we expect the demand to drop by 20% this year from last year. However, the market will not stop and demand is still solid, albeit not as strong as last year.
When the market is good, consumers are full of confidence in the germanium market and they buy more germanium than the actual demand, which is a result of speculative buying bubbles and expectation for climbing prices. However, once demand and the price start to go down, the bubbles burst and consumers will reduce their purchases, so suppliers feel that demand decreases shaply.
Asian Metal: Recently the report has it that the US Army intends to expand, and its military spending will continue to increase. What impact will be on future germanium market in regard to these news?
Mr. Zhao: It depends on the performance of demand in the third quarter. The new fiscal year in the United States begins in October when military expenditures will be published, so it is too early to predict what impact these news will have on the market. We should get a clear estimation towards the fourth quarter or even next year's market after the third quarter.
Asian Metal:With some new germanium projects to come on stream late this year or early next year, where do you think the price of germanium will go?
Mr. Zhao:The supply is bound to increase, but whether the number is the same as these smelters boasted is still uncertain. Chinese enterprises usually exaggerate the supplying quantities to attract attention, which in turn negatively impacts the entire industry. The real situation is that they have not finished the trial production or installing equipment, and it misleads the consumers to believe that the market is full of material. In this case, foreign buyers will not pay high prices to purchase the raw material. In my opinion, it is better to be honest and fair in publicizing figures.
Asian Metal:I cannot agree more, there should be a certain period of time before new suppliers are recognized and start to provide stable supply. Do you have any suggestions for the germanium industry to develop robustly and continually?
Mr. Zhao:Everyone has different thoughts on the matter. In my opinion, the current domestic market is in disorder. Most foreign enterprises form co-operation through the industrial chain, and each company is engaged in the most professional part of their own. Whereas the domestic situation was not that case, each enterprise tries to cover the whole field from mining, smelting, processing and then to making satellite, which always leads to inner-competition, beating prices down.
Without taking the advantage of every single one and the effective investment, companies have depreciated the value of products by the competition between each other. Moreover, it takes time for the technology to consummate, which cannot be realized simply through the transfer of technology. If the domestic enterprises can co-operate orderly through the industry chain, mining companies to concentrate on mining, deep processing enterprises to concentrate on deep-processing, in this case, not only the market is in good control, but also all enterprises can maximize the advantages, and the value of resources will be realized.
Asian Metal:Germanium prices decreased in the first half of this year, and most of the consumers are watching the market. In face of the current market situation, has Nanjing Germanium made some adjustments in total production?
Mr. Zhao:The production decreased in the first half of this year compared to that in the same period of last year, and we have adjusted the product structure. Meanwhile, we have developed and reclaimed some new products during this period. So in my opinion it is necessary to know well about the demand of consumers, and readjusted the products structure in accordance with market demand.
Asian Metal:Nanjing Germanium has been focusing on the development of the technologies and the stretching of the industrial chain. Does your company start producing germanium wafers for solar batteries?
Mr. Zhao:We produced sample wafers in June, which have been sent customers for test use. The technology is developed enough to produce in batch. In the upcoming months, we hope to obtain wide recognition from customers, and then start bulk production after receiving orders.
Asian Metal:How do you think about the future market trend of germanium?
Mr. Zhao:It is always the traditional off-season in summer, so it is difficult to see any improvement in the market in August. With the closing of summer holiday in Europe and Japan, and the financial year starting in American in October, the market trend will become clear. The key factors should be the whole economy situation and the development policies in western countries. If the policy is positive, the market will recover soon. Otherwise, the market will not see any obvious progress.