Samsung has increased pricing of its 3D NAND flash memory devices by 10% in the first half of December, following blacklisting of China-based YMTC by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Since some PC makers suspended their work with Yangtze Memory for now, demand for 3D NAND from other makers increased, which is why Samsung increased its quotes, according to a DigiTimes report.
U.S. politicians publicly called YMTC a threat to national security in the last couple of months after it got into the DoC’s Unverified List (UVL). As a consequence, Apple decided to withhold from buying 3D NAND from Yangtze Memory even for iPhones bound to be distributed in China.
Apparently, other PC OEMs followed suit and suspended their work with the Chinese flash memory manufacturer, either because they did not want to get involved in a political scandal or because they were unsure whether YMTC could supply enough memory on time, now that it can’t get tools from U.S.-based companies without an appropriate export license issued by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
As a result, demand for 3D NAND memory produced by other makers — including Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix — increased and market leader Samsung even decided to increase its 3D NAND prices to take advantage of the situation, the report suggests.
It is unclear how Samsung’s increase in contract 3D NAND pricing for 1H December will affect prices of 3D NAND in general and solid-state drives in particular. Quotes for 3D TLC memory have been stagnating for months, so a slight increase will be a positive sign for flash memory manufacturers. Meanwhile, Samsung hardly sells a lot of 3D NAND to competing SSD manufacturers, especially those companies produce some of the best SSDs out there, so we shouldn’t see a significant impact on SSD prices because of Samsung’s actions.
What remains to be seen is when reduced 3D NAND output by Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix will have an actual impact on the market. TrendForce believes that since actual device manufacturers have loads of 3D NAND at hand, the impact of production cuts will not be seen in Q4 2022 and makes no projections for Q1 2023.