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Apple iPhone 14 may feature Chinese chips: Here is all you need to know about it

Apple is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips by Chinese state-owned semiconductor company Yangtze Memory Technologies

March 31, 2022 / 12:01 PM IST

Apple Inc is exploring new suppliers for memory chips used in its iPhones, including a potentially first Chinese supplier, after a key Japanese partner had an output disruption, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

Apple is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips by Chinese state-owned semiconductor company Yangtze Memory Technologies Co, the report said, adding that the iPhone maker has been discussing the tie-up for months.

If the two parties reach an agreement, the Chinese company's memory, or NAND chips, could be used to power the iPhone 14 and other future iPhone models in 2022.

Here are more details about Yangtze Memory technologies

Established in 2016

Yangtze Memory technologies (YMTC), established in July 2016, is headquartered in Wuhan. It is an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) that designs, manufactures, and sells 3D NAND flash memory. Funded by Chinese government-backed conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, the chip maker is trying to make a dent in the flash memory market.

Made its mark in memory market in 2017

YMTC made its mark on the global memory market in 2017 when it claimed that it has collaborated to design China's first 3D NAND flash memory.

YMTC grew in importance in 2019

In September 2019, YMTC entered the global memory market with the mass production of 64-layer TLC 3D NAND flash memory with its own XtackingTM architecture, which it designed and owns. Xtacking is a YMTC invention that allows memory and logic circuits to be manufactured on separate wafers and then connected using plasma activation and thermal annealing.

A major step forward in 2020

In April 2020, YMTC made history by announcing the industry's first 128-layer QLC flash memory with the highest IO speed, storage density, and single capacity. It also revealed that their 128-layer technology on the SSD platform had passed sample verification.

Milestone for China’s semiconductor industry

The creation of the 128L flash memory chip is a significant achievement. With this, the business has managed to compete with long-established players like Samsung on a critical part of semiconductor design: wafer stacking. YMTC will be able to step up its game, moving beyond memory cards and USBs to solid-state drives for computers, thanks to the 128L wafer.

The Wuhan-based company achieved this milestone while trying to keep production going amid the city's closure.

YMTC occupies a major place in NAND flash market

YMTC is catching up with South Korean memory titans SK Hynix and Samsung, as well as other well-known chipmakers. Other major companies in the NAND flash memory market include Kioxia of Japan, Western Digital of the United States, Micron, and Intel of the United States.

(With inputs from Reuters)
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