For the first time, Apple could purchase flash memory chips for iPhones from Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., a Hubei-based Chinese chipmaker. The disruption to supply chains for iPhone storage chips has pushed the tech giant to diversify the storage chips’ supply chain.
Currently, two Japanese chip manufacturers supply iPhone storage chips to Apple: Kioxia and Western Digital. Recently, both manufacturers had to reduce production at their plants because of an undisclosed contamination issue.
Apple could face backlash from U.S. lawmakers for partnering with a new Chinese company
Bloomberg reports that the tech giant has begun testing Yangtze’s NAND flash memory chips for iPhones but a final discussion has not been taken.
The iPhone maker is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips made by Hubei-based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., [sources] said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Apple’s been discussing the tie-up with Yangtze, owned by Beijing-backed chipmaking champion Tsinghua Unigroup Co., for months though no final decisions have been made.
The new partnership is likely to increase Apple’s dependence on China which the company has trying to reduce because of political unrest between the United States and China. The tech giant’s assembling partners are gradually moving their iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and AirPods manufacturing units out of China to Malaysia, Vietnam, and India. And the report fears that the company can face backlash from U.S. legislators.
Tying up with Yangtze could open Apple to criticism back home given ties between Washington and Beijing are fraying over China’s ambiguous stance on the Ukraine war as well as American efforts to contain its technological ascent. U.S. lawmakers have long railed against the way Beijing champions and subsidizes local industry.