China has long used access to its giant customer base and cheap labor as bargaining chips to persuade foreign companies to open factories within its borders.
Now, corporate executives say, it is using its near monopoly on certain mineralsin particular, scarce metals vital to products like hybrid cars, cellphones and energy-efficient light bulbsto make it difficult for foreign manufacturers of high-tech materials to build or expand factories anywhere except China. Companies that continue making their products outside the country must contend with tighter supplies and much higher prices for the materials because of steep taxes and other export controls imposed by China over the last two years. . . View full article