China Looks Into Possible NAND and DRAM Price-Fixing by Suppliers

China’s National Development and Reform Commission’s Pricing Supervision Department is looking into the possibility of NAND price fixing according to the China Daily. The price of NAND has seen a 32% jump this year, with DRAM price surges past half of 2016’s.  Suppliers continue to state lack of supply as the issue. As it currently stands, there are only four major NAND suppliers: Samsung, Hynix, Micron and Toshiba. So to China’s NDRC, a possible collusion between them to keep stock low is worth investigating.

Besides, it is not like it is unheard of. There is even a Wikipedia entry chronicling the history of DRAM price fixing. Although there is no page for chronicling NAND price fixing, the manufacturers making NAND also make DRAM so its not beyond reason. Samsung pleaded guilty before in not just DRAM price inflation but with price-fixing LCD screens as well. High NAND prices inflate SSD storage prices, while memory on video cards and on system modules also increase in price.

Pressure from the Mobile Market

It is not just PC hardware consumers feeling the pinch of the high NAND cost. Smartphone manufacturers bring up the issue as it drives production costs up. The mobile phone industry in China is rapidly growing, and requires a lot of RAM and NAND supply. So the government is concerned that this possible price fixing issue is hampering that growth further than necessary.

“We have noticed the price surge and will pay more attention to future problems that may be caused by ‘price fixing’ in the sector,”the official Xu Xinyu.

China itself is looking to build their own NAND and DRAM manufacturing. Which will ensure they rely less on South Korean and American companies for supply. The Tsingua group owned Yangtze River Storage Technology has announced completion of 32-layer NAND development and intends to start production on Q2 2018.

Ron Perillo

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