iPhone flash memory plans abandoned after import restrictions

iPhone flash memory plans abandoned after import restrictions

Apple’s plans to buy up to 40% of iPhone flash memory chips from China’s YMTC have reportedly been scrapped after the US government imposed export controls on the chipmaker.

The Cupertino company reportedly had a two-step plan to buy memory chips from China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co…

iPhone flash storage plans

iPhone flash storage chips are one way Apple achieves its enviable margins, with the company typically charging $100 for each step of capacity increase.

Apple currently buys a large portion of these chips from two Japanese companies, Western Digital and Kioxia, with additional supplies from Samsung and SK Hynix. Back in March it was reported that Apple was planning to add a Chinese supplier to the list, for the first time ever.

The iPhone maker is now testing samples of NAND flash memory chips made by Hubei-based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. [sources] he said, asking not to be identified while discussing private matters. Apple has been discussing a tie-up with Yangtze, owned by Beijing-backed chipmaker Tsinghua Unigroup Co., for months, although no final decisions have been made.

It was seen by some as a controversial plan at the time, not only did it increase rather than reduce Apple’s dependence on China, but it came at a time when the US administration was unhappy with China’s ambiguous stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Unlike most countries, China did not condemn the invasion and occupation, and the country did not freeze funds or impose sanctions prohibiting the import of Russian products.

Chinese purchase plans pending

Nikkei has a little more detail on Apple’s plans, which he says are now on hold.

It said the first step would be to use YMTC flash storage chips for all iPhones destined for the Chinese market, while a longer-term plan would see Apple buy enough chips for 40% of global iPhone production. He reports that these plans are now frozen.

Apple has put on hold plans to use memory chips from China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) in its products, multiple sources told Nikkei Asia.

The move comes amid the latest round of US export controls imposed on China’s technology sector and is a sign that Washington’s crackdown is having a chilling effect down the supply chain.

Earlier this month, the US government added YMTC to a list of “unvetted” Chinese companies, meaning US officials were unable to carry out checks to ensure the chipmaker was not supplying Huawei. The Chinese telecommunications company’s products have been banned in the US after accusations of a spy chip.

US restrictions also mean that US companies cannot sell any equipment to YMTC.

photo: Louis Reed/Unsplash

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