After the US imposed another round of sanctions on China’s tech sector in October, news broke that Apple had abandoned plans to buy flash memory from China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp. (YMTC) in future iPhones. Now it turns out that Apple will use Samsung NAND memory instead. YMTC is expected to be blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce in December this year.
Recall that on October 7th, the US authorities included YMTC in the list of so-called “unreliable counterparties”, which by default were refused to receive devices and components of American origin, even if they were delivered from third countries. List members have 60 days to submit to an audit, which includes visits to companies by US inspectors. After the specified period, and for YMTC this is the beginning of December, the company automatically falls into another list, which allows you to work with it only after obtaining a US export license. In this situation, too, American regulatory authorities assume the “presumption of guilt” and can refuse to grant a license without any apparent reason.
A report from industry sources indicates that Apple intends to limit the use of YMTC memory chips in iPhones sold in the Chinese market. This benefits Samsung, which is already the main supplier of DRAM memory for the iPhone. Samsung is expected to start manufacturing 128- and 176-layer NAND chips for the iPhone at its factory in Xi’an, China, next year.
Rumors about Apple’s intention to use YMTC memory chips surfaced in September this year. Against the background of tightened US sanctions, however, this partnership does not seem to come about. According to the source, YMTC could take about 20% of the global NAND flash market if it weren’t for the restrictive US measures. Additionally, it was previously reported that YMTC memory had the prospect of being included in 40% of iPhones for the global market as the company offered better prices.
In addition to working with Apple, the new sanctions will affect the further development of the Chinese company. YMTC currently manufactures 128-layer NAND memory. However, progress in starting production of 232-layer NAND memory chips will be seriously hampered as makers of semiconductor product manufacturing equipment will be forced to comply with US sanctions.