Apple is looking to diversify its supply chain from memory chips. That comes after a production disruption at key Japanese partner Kioxia exposed the risks to its global supply.
It’s considering expanding a roster of suppliers that already includes Micron Technology Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. after Kioxia Holdings Corp. lost a batch of output to contamination in February, people familiar with the matter said. While Samsung and SK Hynix Inc. — the world’s largest makers of flash memory — are likely to pick up the slack, Apple remains keen to diversify its network and offset the risk of further disruption from the pandemic and shipping snarls, they said.
The iPhone maker is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips made by Hubei-based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations… 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.
Yangtze Memory technology is at least one generation behind and could at best be a backup choice to Apple’s main suppliers like Korea’s Hynix and Samsung, they said… Yet because memory chips are largely commoditized, Apple could conceivably decide to use Yangtze’s product in lower-end devices such as the iPhone SE, the people said.
MacDailyNews Take: While Apple’s supply chain diversification is welcome and overdue, Apple’s tightrope act in China gets more difficult with each passing day.
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