China’s Chip Manufacturer YMTC May Face US Trade Sanctions

China’s major player in the semiconductor industry Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) is now rumored to face US sanctions.

As tensions between Beijing and Washington heated a few months before the US-China trade war began in July 2018, local media coverage of President Xi Jinping was concentrated on his initiatives to unite the nation’s finest scientists and engineers to seek advancements in essential technologies. 

President Xi Jinping on his visit. | Image: Xinhua

Many of those publications used the image of Xi Jinping at Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (XMC) facilities while wearing white safety suits. XMC is a subsidiary of Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., China’s largest memory chip manufacturer (YMTC) which caused distress in the media.

At present, YMTC is still a major player in China’s goal of semiconductor self-sufficiency, but things are different now. More significantly, YMTC is under pressure due to the potential for additional US trade penalties. 

The escalating hostilities between Beijing and Washington have mostly spared YMTC. It did not experience the same fate as significant Chinese tech companies like Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) and Huawei Technologies Co., which were placed on Washington’s trade blacklist in the early stages of the US-China tech conflict.

According to the company website, YMTC developed and produced China’s first 3D NAND flash memory wafer in October 2017 via internal research & development and international collaboration. Its consumer and enterprise solid-state drives, which are extensively used in mobile devices, personal computers, servers, and different consumer electronics items, are integrated with its 3D NAND flash memory-packed chips.

Image: YMTC

Reports from August suggest that Washington has been considering a ban on the sale of US semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China’s advanced NAND Flash chip foundries. If implemented, this would be the first time the US government has specifically targeted this area of the mainland’s integrated circuit industry. According to Liu from the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, the prospect of the US extending the scope of its trade restrictions to encompass YMTC is real given the memory chip manufacturer’s technical advancement.

In 2021, YMTC had 5% of the worldwide market share for NAND flash memory chips, and by 2027, its share was predicted to reach 10%. Based on how well YMTC has integrated itself into every major tech sector, the imposition of the US sanctions may hinder the growth of the global market.

Source: South China Morning Post


Muhammad Zuhair

Passionate about technology and gaming content, Zuhair focuses on analysing information and then presenting it to the audience.
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