Apple is investigating new suppliers of memory chips used in its iPhones, including a potential first Chinese supplier, after a major Japanese partner had a production outage, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
Japan-based Kioxia Holdings – a key supplier of flash memory chips to Apple – had last month reported contamination at two of its manufacturing facilities, which the company said will result in reduced production.
Apple is now testing samples of NAND memory chips from Chinese semiconductor company Yangtze Memory Technologies, the report said, adding that the iPhone maker has been discussing the connection for months.
Yangtze declined to comment, and Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. the report.
Earlier this month, another major Apple supplier, Foxconn, had to suspend operations in Shenzhen due to an increase in covid-19 cases. Foxconn started some production at the end of last month on its Shenzhen campus after arranging for staff to live and work in a bubble, an arrangement that the local government requested when fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Only a small portion of Foxconn’s production for Apple’s iPhone in China takes place in the southern city of Shenzhen, where the majority takes place in Zhengzhou in the central province of Henan, according to sources.
A persistent shortage of chips has also disrupted production in the automotive and electronics industries, forcing some companies to reduce production.
© Thomson Reuters 2022