The Korean company is taking advantage of the UVL listing of Chinese memory maker YMTC by the Biden administration to raise its prices in December. No increase to be expected in the immediate future on the consumer side.
Over the months, the Biden administration continues the undermining work initiated by the Trump administration targeting Chinese industry. A few weeks ago, the BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) of the US Department of Commerce has added about 30 companies to its Unverified List (UVL). Among the targeted entities, YMTC (Yangtze Memory Technology Society), a Chinese company specializing in 3D NAND memory and a former partner of Apple. Registration on this list means the obligation to have specific licenses to trade; In other words, YMTC can no longer access all kinds of manufacturing equipment made in the United States, but also those incorporated elsewhere in the United States’ intellectual property, or even certain software. It is always possible to obtain exemptions, subject to showing your credentials before the DoC and accepting various inspections. In fact, as you can imagine, being on this blacklist is a huge handicap, as the Huawei case has demonstrated.
These restrictive measures of course take a little time to come into effect. The targeted companies also have two months to oppose it by providing evidence. Still, in the case of the YMTC company, it would be forced to stop the production of 3D NAND memory. And as often, the misfortune of some is the happiness of others: in this case, Samsung, which increased its prices for its 3D NAND flash memory devices by 10% during the first half of December, according to DigiTimes . Nothing abnormal in absolute terms: supply is falling, demand remains, prices are rising.
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No immediate impact on final prices
In fact, Apple has decided to no longer buy 3D NAND from Yangtze Memory, including for iPhones intended for distribution in China, for a few weeks. The apple brand would of course not be the only firm to have acted in this way in recent times, whether by choice or by constraint. This placing on the American blacklist of YMTC thus has everything of a godsend for other memory manufacturers such as Micron, SK Hynix or Samsung. The Korean company, leader in this market, took advantage of the situation to increase its prices.
On the side of final consumers, the repercussion should not be immediately visible. 3D NAND memory prices have been stagnant for months and manufacturers are said to have plenty of stock. The effects of this drop in production / increase in prices could still be felt from spring 2023.