It appears that China has begun stockpiling strategic reserves of rare earths in case of future shortages. China has so far granted companies the right to export 21,226 tonnes of rare earths this year. In 2011, the government granted rare earth export quotas of 30,200 tonnes but only 18,600 tonnes were exported.
China produces more than 90 % of the rare earths in the world. They are used in hi-tech equipment ranging from iPods to missiles, and it has set production caps and export quotas on them.