U.S. considers crackdown on memory chip makers in China

STORY: The United States is considering limiting shipments of American chipmaking equipment to memory chip makers in China, including Yangtze Memory Technologies, part of a bid to halt the second-biggest economy's semiconductor sector advances and protect U.S. companies.

That's according to four people familiar with the matter, who said the crackdown, if approved, would bar such shipments to factories in China that manufacture advanced NAND chips, which store data in devices such as smartphones and laptops.

The sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also said it could also hurt South Korean memory chip juggernauts Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix if the Biden administration proceeds with the move.

Samsung has two big factories in China while SK Hynix is buying Intel's NAND flash memory chips manufacturing business in China.

The move also would seek to protect the only U.S. memory chip makers, Western Digital and Micron Technology, which together represent about a quarter of the NAND chips market.

The crackdown would mark the first U.S. bid through export controls to target Chinese production of memory chips without specialized military applications, representing a more expansive view of American national security, according to export control experts.

All the sources described consideration of the matter as in early stages, with no proposed regulations yet drafted.

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