Apple Pivots to Samsung for iPhone Memory Chips Following US Trade Ban Against Chinese Suppliers

Apple will turn to Samsung for memory used in iPhones ahead of the imposition of U.S. export controls on one of China's top NAND flash chipmakers, reports DigiTimes.

samsung logo 2022
Apple originally intended to buy 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) for use in iPhones sold in the Chinese market as early as this year, with the possibility of eventually purchasing up to 40% of the chips needed for all iPhones.

However, last month those plans were put on hold when YMTC and 30 other Chinese entities were added to an "Unverified" list of companies that U.S. officials have been unable to inspect, and the supplier is widely expected to be blacklisted in early December for trade restrictions.

U.S. companies are prohibited from sharing any design, technologies, documents or specifications to companies on the Unverified List without a license. Companies who cannot provide the necessary information within 60 days can be added to the U.S. export control blacklist. YMTC is also being investigated by the U.S. Commerce Department over whether it violated Washington's export controls by selling chips to Huawei, which is already blacklisted.

As a result of the restrictions, Apple will now use Samsung Electronics as an alternative supplier starting in 2023, according to supply chain sources cited in the report.

Samsung, long the main supplier of DRAM chips for iPhones, is set to start next year supplying NAND flash for iOS devices from its plant in China's Xian plant, which now contributes 40% of the Korean vendor's total 3D NAND flash capacity, ranging from 128 to 176 layers, the sources said.

Unlike its rivals, Samsung has not imposed production cuts in response to sluggish NAND flash market demand, likely partly due to its entry into the Apple supply chain. Moreover, the Korean manufacturer is thought to be able to afford quote cuts and output increases, which has further strengthened its competitiveness.

The export controls on China imposed by the Biden administration are an effort to slow the country's technological and military advances by cutting off Beijing's supplies from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with U.S. equipment.

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Top Rated Comments

WiiDSmoker Avatar
22 months ago

Sad. Now we can expect things to get a bit more expensive. These things add up over time.

Dear politics, stop getting in the way.
The markup is ALREADY INSANE from Apple on memory and storage.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pezimak Avatar
22 months ago

Should really just add all of China to that “unverified” list. India has all the advantages of China without being a threat to Western society.
The only threat China is to the west, is it’s economy is huge and rich, all thanks to Western companies money being invested there because they can have stuff made cheap, because pesky human and workers rights don’t get in the way of costs, ergo the Western companies make bigger profits and share holders get bigger dividends.

India is exactly the same, no human or workers rights so Western companies can have stuff made for peanuts and the huge wealth at the expense of the lives of the workers continues.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hastings101 Avatar
22 months ago
Should really just add all of China to that “unverified” list. India has all the advantages of China without being a threat to Western society.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OS X Dude Avatar
22 months ago
It's better, though, as Samsung's flash storage is the best in the business. I remember years ago when it was a lottery as to whether your MacBook Air had either a Toshiba or Samsung SSD, and people here were literally returning several units to try and get the Samsung variant.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
22 months ago

When it comes to electronics. Samsung have their fingers in everything. Even Apple can't escape!
Seems apt. Apple can’t quit Samsung.

Attachment Image
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SpotOnT Avatar
22 months ago

Interesting how Samsung is pushing to manufacture in China and they then get orders from apple because US is trying to lean off China.
That is because it isn’t about using cheap Chinese labour, it is about transfer of technology. The US government doesn’t care who assembles the parts, they care about the Chinese government getting the design plans for the parts.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)