back to article Apple warned by US lawmakers over using Chinese YMTC chips in new iPhone

Republican lawmakers have said Apple is "playing with fire" if reports of its plans to source 3D NAND flash from China's YMTC (among others) for the upcoming iPhone 14 prove true. Apple currently sources NAND flash from Korean giants Samsung and SK hynix, as well as Japanese producer Kioxia (formerly known as Toshiba Memory …

  1. VoiceOfTruth

    Land of the Free...

    to do what you are told.

    Rubio is a well-known psycho.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Land of the Free...

      For a republican he does a good job of looking like he's from a communist nation.

      1. Joe Gurman

        Re: Land of the Free...

        Marco Rubio and his communist pals can take my fondletoy out of my cold, dead hands, but not before.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Land of the Free...

      No.

  2. aerogems Silver badge
    FAIL

    Another pathetic soundbite attempt

    I mean... iOS already supports ALSR and everything in the device's NAND storage is encrypted, as he may remember when he was saying Apple should decrypt some guy's phone for the FBI a few years ago, so while I suppose there may be a very narrow set of circumstances where Rubio is correct (I feel violated) it would require a considerable amount of effort for this to be actively exploited... AND, even if it were, there's no way a potential Chinese spy could guarantee that Politician X used a device with the compromised chips. You'd have to rely on old school espionage techniques of getting an operative close enough, for long enough, that they could clone the old device and replace it, while somehow reprogramming the IMEI and serial number on the replacement device to match that of the original. While it's not impossible someone could do that, it'd be a lot easier to just hack their email account or get compromising photos of them with a high priced prostitute.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Another pathetic soundbite attempt

      It's nothing to do with Chinese spying. It is American protectionism because it can't compete fairly.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Another pathetic soundbite attempt

        No, it's because we're smart and figured out there's no such thing as a free lunch.

        YMTC is being bolstered by the Chinese government to squat a place at the table by offering its products at half the price of its competitors. The losses will eventually be recuperated when the competition has crashed and burned.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Another pathetic soundbite attempt

          On the other hand, when Walmart rolls into Hicksville and opens its doors....

          China are just doing it on a bigger scale. I'm not defending China here, just saying they learned the practice from somewhere. They didn't invent it. Most supermarkets will have "loss leaders" on the basics and essentials to get customers through the door. China have gone a step further and promote everything as loss leaders.

    2. tooltalk

      Re: Another pathetic soundbite attempt

      Rubio is addressing just data security. It's also about economic security. There is absolutely no reason for American tech companies such as Apple to go out of their way and buy MIC goods, just out of their loyalty to CCP.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Another pathetic soundbite attempt

        There is absolutely no reason for American tech companies to go out of their way to buy American made goods either.

        Demanding loyalty never ends well and the increasingly shrill nationalist agendas coming out of various quarters has very uncomfortable echos of the leadins to both WW1 and WW2

        Do we really want to go through THAT again?

  3. El Bard

    Reporting at DigitimesAsia provides some more background:

    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20220912VL202/apple-ymtc.html

    Apple, however, clarified that it was not considering using YMTC chips for iPhones sold outside of China, telling the Financial Times that it was "evaluating sourcing from YMTC for NAND chips to be used in some iPhones sold in China."

    and...

    "However, YMTC is partially state-owned, with the Chinese government holding 24% of the stake in the company. [...] In addition, governmental subsidies received by YMTC have become a source of major concern for US lawmakers, fearing its impacts on the global memory chip industry and subsequently the security of global data storage."

    1. milliemoo83

      Apple may not be considering YMTC chips being used outside China, but it will happen. I mean where to a good proportion of SIM-free phones come from? Especially at the lower end of the price bracket for high end equipment - where they flog the China editions for peanuts (flashing to your native country's ROM is part of the price), when compared to the country's native SIM-free editions.

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Grey market

        If the 3rd party export of iPhones that where meant for the Chinse market became significant Apple would stop it very quickly. So quickly your head would spin!

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Except Apple doesn't sell phones in China for lower prices

        They are actually a bit more expensive than the same phone bought in the US. Any savings they might get from using Chinese NAND in iPhones sold in China is going back to Apple HQ.

        You'd think Rubio would be in favor of a US company making profit off foreigners. The republicans of a few years ago would be, but today's MAGA republicans don't like that Apple is both very successful AND very "woke", because it challenges their "go woke, go broke" fantasy.

        1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Except Apple doesn't sell phones in China for lower prices

          > Any savings they might get from using Chinese NAND in iPhones sold in China is going back to Apple HQ.

          I am sure they would gladly pocket any savings but I suspect the immediate issue is security and diversity of supply. If Apple uses the Chinese chips in Chinese phones then that frees up chips from other suppliers for other markets.

  4. ChoHag Bronze badge

    (DR-State)

    Is this another sign of the inevitable absorption of el rag (PBUH) into Silly Clown Valley? Can we instead not have this little affectation tagged on everywhere? It matters little which state they come from, it matters less which football team they support.

    We can magnify our irrational personal biases by flag-waving in the pages that are actually about politics in some way.

    (And while we're on *that* subject is it really news that the runners up are hoping to win their league in the next season? Complete waste of a paragraph.)

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: (DR-State)

      Yes, actually it does matter which party and (to a lesser extent) which state they come from. This reflects a lot on their motives and background.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: (DR-State)

        I think the point is that it's not done when politicians of other countries are mentioned in these august pages. eg UK MPs are sometimes credited with which party they are from, but not always, and we rarely get told which constituency they represent. So why is it important for US politicians but not others? All or none would make more sense.

        1. ChoHag Bronze badge

          Re: (DR-State)

          How else would you know whether to cheer or boo, if they didn't prominently display their team colours? You wouldn't want to get caught out accidentally having the wrong side's opinion.

        2. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: (DR-State)

          @ "eg UK MPs are sometimes credited with which party they are from, but not always, and we rarely get told which constituency they represent. So why is it important for US politicians but not others?"

          Even though I am from the UK I find It important for US politicians (Senators and Representatives) for the reasons @Gene Cash gave above.

          Now when it comes to the UK I think you will find if the politician is being mentioned as just an MP they are credited with which party they are from. But if they are being mentioned as an example, a Government Minister then the party is not normally used. Because unless there is a coalition government the party is known.

          The reason why "we rarely get told which constituency they represent" is that it does not have the same influence on an MP as States do on Senators and Representatives. MPs are not so connected to their constituency most were not residents before they got elected, a lot are not even after.

          Most MPs have no real interest in their constituency outside of how safe a seat it is. Once they gain enough power and influence within their party they will be able to get selected to stand for their Party's equivalent of Dunny on the Wold.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: (DR-State)

          " why is it important for US politicians"

          Because American politics has descended into rampant tribalism and is pulling that country apart

  5. Lordrobot

    Apple needs to bolt from the US

    Every time you turn around some dumb protectionist politician is meddling with US businesses, EU businesses, Japanese Businesses, Korean businesses, and Dutch ASML. When will the world tire of this? Yesterday?

    1. tooltalk

      Re: Apple needs to bolt from the US

      Apple is effectively a Sino-American company. It's not certainly where their loyalty lies at this point -- I'm betting it's on China. Sometimes it looks like Al Gore is still peddling globalization and MAKE-CHINA-GREAT-AGAIN at Apple.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Apple needs to bolt from the US

      OK a few bullet points for ya on China and the world market:

      * Unfair trade practices (slave labor, dumping, supply chain + assembly local lock-ins)

      * Unreliable due to their internal politics/policies (shutdowns and lockdowns and capricious re-prioritization)

      * Communist nation, seem to be bent on world domination

      * Hostile threats/actions upon the world (Taiwan, Japan for starters)

      Do you REALLY want to hand over the key/core supply chains to THEM ? They are NOT our friends.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple needs to bolt from the US

        You're just butthurt that China copied the US' playbook and are doing better with it

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Apple needs to bolt from the US

        "Do you REALLY want to hand over the key/core supply chains to THEM ?"

        "Them" being who, exactly?

        The USA has repeatedly demonstrated they're perfectly capable of shitting all over their allies for fun and profit and will happily go into full protectionist mode whilst simultaneously screaming "free trade"

        The US version of "free trade" is much like the pilgrims "freedom of religion" - demanding freedom to oppress everyone who doesn't follow their beliefs. An actual free and fair playing field is an alien concept to them

  6. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Danger Will Robinson!

    This is just a shot across the front bow to warn Apple not to get too deeply into bed with Xi JinPing. There seems to be literally no end to Apple's hunger for more profit (and squeezing other suppliers to make it happen). It's obvious YMTC is selling its wares at half-price just to wrestle itself inbetween Samsung and Kioxa.

    Surely the company must know that China is merely buying marketshare to push its rivals out of the market? After Kioxa and SK are gone it will have the fridge all to itself and feast on the spoils.

    I'm glad someone in the US government is taking note. Apple will probably heed this warning and sell YMTC's wares only in China. For now.

    Maybe when someone isn't looking they'll slip in some YMTC flash chips into European iPhones to bolster their profits so Cook can get another $100 million bonus.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Danger Will Robinson!

      -> Surely the company must know that China is merely buying marketshare to push its rivals out of the market?

      That's called business, isn't it? Isn't that exactly what numerous American companies do? Isn't that what Microsoft is so often vilified for?

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Danger Will Robinson!

        That's called business, isn't it?

        So American protectionism = bad, Chinese protectionism = good ?

        GTFO.

      2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Danger Will Robinson!

        No, this is unfair and illegal pseudo-competition and akin to cheating. They either sell at a fair price (and WE decide what is fair!) or they'll be banned from our markets.

    2. tooltalk

      Re: Danger Will Robinson!

      It was recently revealed that Apple had sworn their loyalty to Xi years ago -- and Tim Apple committed over $270+B investment in domestic tech industry in China and continue to favor and pump up inferior and immature products made at Chinese companies in their love of all things China. Love from Al Gore.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Danger Will Robinson!

        I'd actually like to see proof of that...

      2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Danger Will Robinson!

        He did make that promise, but it wasn't a blood oath.

  7. crayon

    "They either sell at a fair price (and WE decide what is fair!) or they'll be banned from our markets."

    Of course you will. Like how you will decide what is a fair price to pay for Russian oil. Since Russia is selling oil to China and India at below Saudi prices maybe you should insist on paying Saudi prices for Russian oil? And maybe an extra 50% on top of that - that will teach those sneaky Russians to not to dump cheap oil on the world markets.

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