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China’s Tsinghua Unigroup announced today that it's entering the DRAM market, making it the third Chinese company to do so in recent years.
Tsinghua Unigroup announced that it formed a new business unit for producing DRAM in a one-sentence statement released on Sunday. According to analyst Trendforce, even though Tsinghua has only just started working on its DRAM division, which it described as being in "early stages," it shouldn't have a problem completing the division's development. Tsinghua first talked about building a DRAM division in 2014, but those plans were put on hold in favor of NAND flash design, Trendforce noted.
The DRAM unit is funded mostly by Chinese government money, just like the DRAM businesses of two other Chinese companies: Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company (JHICC) and Changxin Memory Technologies (CMT, previously called Innotron Memory).
In November, JHICC was indicted by the U.S. government for stealing DRAM technology from Micron, a U.S. supplier of memory technologies. Soon after the indiction, CMT also changed the designs of its memory technologies to avoid any potential infringement on U.S. companies’ patents.
Trendforce analysts believe Tsinghua’s plans were revived due to JHICC being put on the U.S. Entity List last year, banning U.S. companies from supplying it with tech. The ban almost forced JHICC to go out of business, and Trendorce analysts don’t believe that CMT’s memory division will be enough to satisfy the local demand or Chinese government hopes for independence from U.S. companies.