原标题：焦点分析 为了你的iPhone能磁吸充电，苹果又花了5亿买材料 来源：36氪
Original title: focus Analysis for the magnetic charging of your iPhone, Apple Inc spent another 500 million on materials source: 36Kr Holdings
作者 | 袁斯来
Author | Yuan Silai
编辑 | 苏建勋
Editor | Su Jianxun
When iPhone 12 was first released, the return of MagSafe attracted a lot of interest from users. Apple Inc used magnetic charging on his mobile phone for the first time, looking fresh and futuristic.
In this technology, the key part is the permanent magnet hidden in the back cover of the iPhone, and a material with limited production such as NdFeB magnet must be used. It is extracted and processed by rare earths, which involves a strictly restricted industrial chain.
In addition to permanent magnets, rare earth oxides are also used in the motors and screens inside the phone. These minerals, known as "national strategic materials", are becoming the key resources contested by all parties. In this competition, Apple Inc faces not only mobile phone manufacturers, but also new energy vehicles and even home appliance manufacturers.
Huahong Technology, which does rare earth recycling and reprocessing, announced on January 11 that its subsidiary Xintai Technology and Apple Inc have reached a partnership to supply Apple Inc with praseodymium and neodymium oxide products of 50 tons per month in the coming year. According to the current highest price of praseodymium and neodymium oxide, the transaction is worth about 540 million yuan.
Xintai Science and Technology began to communicate with Apple Inc in October 2019, and now it is only now that the cooperation has been fully finalized. The praseodymium and neodymium oxide they provide can be used in magnetic materials such as MagSafe.
其实苹果很早就在准备更稳妥的方案。iPhone 11时，线性马达Taptic Engine就百分百使用回收稀土提炼的产品制成，这个马达占了总体稀土使用量四分之一。苹果也是第一个在手机主要元器件中使用回收稀土材料的厂商。
In fact, Apple Inc has been preparing a more stable plan for a long time. IPhone 11:00, the linear motor Taptic Engine, which accounts for 1/4 of the total rare earth use, is made entirely of products extracted from recycled rare earths. Apple Inc is also the first manufacturer to use recycled rare earth materials in major mobile phone components.
Apple Inc uses parts made from recycled rare earth materials to add to their image of being "environmentally friendly", but as Apple Inc himself said, it is also to ensure a stable supply.
In recent years, "environmental protection" has often appeared in Apple Inc's public relations and press conferences, and has been gradually integrated into production and terminals. The action of this company with a market capitalization of nearly $3 trillion actually represents a trend: in a dual-carbon context, companies have to pay attention to their unfamiliar "carbon footprint" and "carbon neutralization".
For environmental protection or for protection of supply?
Apple Inc has been trying to find ways to make more use of materials made from recycled rare earths.
In fact, mobile phone parts are already the lowest reaches of the entire rare earth industry chain. Located upstream are the two major groups of rare earth mining and mining, whose raw materials are smelted into oxides and rare earth metals, and finally processed downstream into rare earth magnetic materials, rare earth luminous materials, and so on, and finally into new energy vehicles, mobile phones and other products.
Rare earths are non-renewable resources, and mining and smelting are strictly controlled by the state. Only Northern rare earths and Chinese rare earth groups are qualified to mine and smelt rare earths, and they only supply to agreement manufacturers. One of the shareholders of Ganzhou Keli rare Earth New Materials Co., Ltd., which Apple Inc cooperates, is Zhongke Sanhuan, a manufacturer of permanent magnet materials, which can purchase rare earth materials from two major rare earth groups.
Rare earths are already a target-controlled industry, with a limited increase in quantity every year, but demand is breaking out. In addition to mobile phones, new energy vehicles, home appliances, elevators and so on all use rare earth metals, especially new energy vehicles with rising delivery, as well as neodymium-iron-boron magnets, and the annual demand is increasing by double digits, but the supply side is obviously unable to meet the demand.
正经历这几年最大换机潮的苹果，对稀土材料的需求也节节攀升，iPhone 12卖出1亿部的时间比iPhone 11提前了2个月，根据counterpoint预计，iPhone 13销量还会超过iPhone 12。
Apple Inc, who is going through the biggest replacement wave in recent years, is also on the rise in demand for rare earth materials. IPhone 12 sold 100m units two months earlier than iPhone 11, and counterpoint expects iPhone 13 to outsell iPhone 12.
This round of imbalance between supply and demand has led to a rise in the price of rare earths. Apple Inc's purchase of praseodymium and neodymium oxide was 400000 yuan / ton in August 2020, and now the price has reached 906000 yuan / ton, and it is difficult to get it.
"the price is now rising all the time, and the market is out of stock, so Apple Inc and upstream locking materials are also to ensure a stable supply." Zhang Lifeng, general manager of Feiyang Magnetoelectric Company, who is engaged in the rare earth industry, told 36Kr Holdings.
The price of oxides smelted from rare earth recycled materials will not be lower, but when rare earth mining becomes more cautious, the supply will be more stable.
Apple Inc once thought of recovering rare earths directly from iPhone, but found that the operation was too inefficient. For every 100000 sets of iPhone recovered, only 32 kilograms of rare earths can be extracted. Finding a third-party supplier is a more cost-effective choice.
The rare earth recycling industry is also getting more and more attention. Huahong Technology reported that its Q3 financial results in 2021 showed that its revenue rose 116.32% compared with the same period last year, and its non-net profit increased by 179.63% compared with the same period last year. The company, which made elevator parts in its early years, did not dabble in rare earth recycling until it acquired Xintai technology in 2020, which has accounted for 30% of revenue and has become Huahong's largest business.
The use of recycled rare earth materials does not mean that Apple Inc can rest easy for the supply.
An investor told 36Kr Holdings that 2000 to 3000 tons of oxide can be extracted from the current treatment of 10, 000 tons of waste. This means that the supply of oxides for recycling rare earth smelting is still limited.
When environmental protection becomes an issue
Although Apple Inc uses recycled rare earths more to ensure supply, they are also happy to go one step further on their own road to environmental protection.
Apple Inc has not been paying attention to such words as green and renewable for a long time. At least in the Jobs era, environmental protection was never their focus. For a long time, there was only one person in Apple Inc's company to manage the environmental impact. When environmental groups advocated printing recycling codes on products, Apple Inc refused because it was "not pretty enough." There has also been a tug-of-war between them and Greenpeace, and Jobs himself sent an open letter to defend it.
After Cook, who is keen on mountaineering and cycling, took the helm, Apple Inc's attitude towards environmental protection changed a lot. Including removing the more polluting PVC from its products and replacing it with greener materials, Apple Inc also partnered with first Solar to build a $850 million solar power plant in 2015.
At present, Apple Inc has become the benchmark of environmental protection. They use recycled aluminum in their products and use Liam robots to recover materials from iPhone, reducing their carbon footprint by 4.3 million tonnes and reducing average energy consumption by 73 per cent compared with 12 years ago. They even cut off the attached charger (and, of course, increased some net profit), shrinking the size of the box, removing the plastic package, and reducing the use of plastic.
Apple Inc has also come up with ambitious plans to achieve 100 per cent carbon neutrality in the overall business, production supply chain and product life cycle by 2030.
This means that suppliers must be more "green". After all, 77 per cent of Apple Inc's carbon footprint is in the supply chain. To become a supplier of Apple Inc, environmental protection has also become a consideration. According to data released by Apple Inc last year, 50 Chinese companies have joined supplier clean energy projects, more than double the number in 2020.
Apple Inc's actions have also brought a lot of controversy, including whether they will look for more expensive alternatives at the expense of user experience. Whether this is just an emission transfer rather than a real emission reduction.
However, it is undeniable that with Apple Inc's size and influence, his behavior does play an exemplary role. In 2021, many people call it the first year of "carbon neutralization". In the future, more enterprises will pay attention to "carbon neutralization" and use recyclable and environmentally friendly materials in their own production lines. It may not bring much brand bonus or immediate benefits to the company itself, but it is essential for a sustainable future.
The picture is from 36Kr Holdings.