SEOUL (Reuters) – China has launched an investigation into Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, SK Hynix Inc and Micron Technology Inc, the three semiconductor manufacturers that control the DRAM memory chip market.
"The investigation has begun in earnest," the source said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The prices of DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks, have more than doubled in two years, as servers, gaming PCs and cryptocurrency mining devices demand more fire power to process large amounts of transmission data.
Although China is investing heavily to develop its still-nascent chip industry, it is currently the largest importer of memory products, consuming 20 percent of the world's DRAM, according to research firm Trendforce.
"China (is) trying to protect its PC and smartphone market from rising DRAM costs Typically, China's PCs and smartphones are sold at lower costs / margins than those in other countries" said Stifel Nicolaus badyst Kevin Cbadidy.
A spokesperson for Samsung said the company was cooperating with the Chinese authorities, but did not provide further details about the visit. A spokesman for SK Hynix also declined to give further details.
The crackdown on the chip makers was to ensure competition Fair, said the Global Times, a Chinese tabloid state backed by the official People's Daily of the Communist Party.
A potential probe was first tagged late last year when Chinese state media reported that regulators approached Samsung in South Korea because of the price increase.
The DRAM sector has been a frequent target of global regulatory investigations into price-fixing allegations, as the industry has seen an avalanche of agreements that left the two South Korean firms and their US rivals controlling 96 percent of the market.
Samsung had a market share of 44.9 percent in the first quarter, while SK Hynix has 27.9 percent and Micron has 22.6 percent, according to Trendforce.
In April, they were slapped with a clbad action lawsuit filed on behalf of US consumers. UU For the accusations that they conspired to inflate DRAM prices.
Chinese companies have had a series of agreements abroad to buy foreign chip companies blocked by US regulators. UU In recent years, including an offer from Tsinghua Unigroup to acquire Micron Technology.
Reports of Ju-min Park in Seoul; Additional reports by Supantha Mukherjee and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru, Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Joyce Lee in Seoul; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
Tags Asia / Pacific China China (PRC) ELEC Equipment Technology (TRBC) Images KOREA Main news News from the company Problems of Business Management Regulation samsung Semiconductors (TRBC) South United States US