In 1983, Japan's Sumitomo Special Metals Co., Ltd. (later became a subsidiary of Hitachi Metals) invented the neodymium iron boron magnet for the first time, and began mass production the following year. Its birth created a new generation of rare earth permanent magnet materials. Before the 1990s, the global neodymium-iron-boron magnet manufacturers were mainly concentrated in Japan, the United States, Europe and other countries or regions. Among them, Japan was the world's largest producer of neodymium-iron-boron magnets at that time, accounting for more than half of the world's total output.
With the increase in production costs in developed countries, the demand for neodymium-iron-boron magnets in China's downstream industries continues to increase and the competitiveness of their own products has improved. The United States, Europe and Japan have adopted joint ventures or establishment of processing bases. The transfer of China has led to the rapid development of Chinese manufacturing enterprises. In 2001, the output of neodymium-iron-boron magnets in China reached 6,500 tons, surpassing Japan, becoming the world's largest neodymium-iron-boron magnet production base.
At present, the global neodymium-iron-boron magnet production is mainly concentrated in China and Japan. Japan is the largest producer of neodymium-iron-boron magnets outside of China. Japanese companies such as Hitachi Metals and Shin-Etsu Chemical account for 48% of the global market share of high-performance neodymium-iron-boron magnets. Hitachi Metals is the industry leader in sintered neodymium-iron-boron magnets. It is the world's largest manufacturer of high-performance neodymium iron boron. The German VAC company is also mainly committed to the production of high-performance neodymium-iron-boron products, with a global market share of approximately 2%. For a long time, Chinese sintered neodymium iron boron manufacturers mostly produce low-end products and face greater market competition pressure.
In recent years, driven by the development of strategic emerging industries such as energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy vehicles, information technology and high-end equipment, some companies have continuously introduced advanced production technology, equipment and management experience of neodymium iron boron magnets, and invested funds for independent research and development. Promote the rapid improvement of neodymium-iron-boron manufacturing technology. It is estimated that from 2019 to 2021, the global demand for high-performance neodymium-iron-boron magnets will reach an average annual compound growth rate of 19%. Among them, drive motors for new energy vehicles, automotive micro motors (including EPS), inverter air conditioners, robots and energy-saving elevators will increase Become an important growth driver.