As an English professor, I can think of no better option than the term "hosts" suggested by @Technocat. That is the perfect word, for reasons set out in Technocat's answer and in his/her subsequent comments.
You are certainly NOT correct in your belief that the dictionary definition precludes the term "hosts" being only for events; you are misunderstanding what the dictionary says. You need only refer to the examples provided by Technocat to prove that the term is not only correct but in widespread usage.
The term "is home to" - suggested by Swaggy P - is a great option in some cases, but may or may not be appropriate, depending on the facts of the case.
Normally the term "home" is used to refer only to a company's headquarters, which are also often called the company's "home base".
"Cupertino, California, is home to Apple Inc ..."
is well understood to imply that this is the global headquarters.
Using the specific example you gave, both of the following are technically correct, but they have different meanings.
"The region hosts the country's largest lithium producer."
This means only that the region's largest lithium producer has a presence in that region. It does not preclude the possibility that the producer has a headquarters somewhere else.
"The region is home to the country's largest lithium producer."
This variant has a very specific meaning: that the producer's home base is in that region.