Chinese regulators are investigating memory-chip makers Micron Technology Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc.，all three of which said their China offices have received visits recently.
The regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The three companies are the dominant global suppliers of so-called DRAM chips. They said they are cooperating with the investigation, but didn’t say what it is about.
Bernstein analyst Mark Newman said it may concern the rising cost of DRAM chips that Chinese smartphone makers are facing as demand continues to outpace supply.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if China is trying to negotiate some tech transfer and trying to put pressure on the incumbent memory makers to share some technology with the domestic Chinese memory makers,” he said.
Micron is based in Boise, Idaho. Both Samsung and SK Hynix are based in South Korea.
China has been trying to reduce its dependency on foreign chips. Nearly 90% of the $190 billion worth of chips used in the country are imported or produced in China by foreign-owned companies, according to International Business Strategies Inc., a research firm.
China has been on a drive to develop and produce memory chips domestically. DRAM Innotron Memory and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. are among Chinese firms with major DRAM projects, while Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. has a 3D-NAND plant in Wuhan.
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