Economy

China ban a foul claims Micron

China ban a foul claims Micron

In its filing, Micron said UMC, which is scaling up its China business and plans to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, had poached key Micron employees with the aim of helping Fujian Jinhua improve its own DRAM technology.

The ruling, which hit shares of Idaho-based Micron and other US chipmakers on Tuesday, comes amid an escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing over tariffs.

In fact, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, there have been three other instances in the past three years where Micron pulled back to within one standard deviation of its 160-day moving average after a lengthy stay above it.

Micron is now saying that they have not been served with a preliminary injunction in China on some of their chips as reported by Micron rival UMC.

The case is part of a broader dispute between the two companies centring on accusations that UMC acted as a conduit for the theft of Micron's designs in an attempt to help China grow its domestic chip industry and replace imports that rival oil in total value. The ruling is a preliminary injunction but temporarily halts Micron from manufacturing, selling or importing certain Crucial and Ballistix-branded DRAM modules and solid stat drives in China. UMC has declined to comment on the allegations.

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The lawsuit followed Micron's complaint in December against Chinese government-backed Fujian and UMC in a California court alleging misappropriation of its trade secrets and other misconduct.

UMC co-president Jason Wang, commented, "UMC is pleased with today's decision". In fact, Micron derived half of its fiscal 2017 net sales from the country. If the ban is enacted, Micron's competitors, including Samsung, SK Hynix, WDC, Intel, Toshiba and the new entrant YMTC would be benefited.

Idaho-based Micron was slapped with an injunction for "violating UMC's patent rights in a court verdict that applies to all of mainland China", UMC said in a statement on Tuesday that disclosed the ruling. The order applied to 26 products, including Micron's DRAM and NAND flash products. Investors are cautioned that actual events and results could differ materially from these statements as a result of a variety of factors, including conditions in the overall semiconductor market and economy; acceptance and demand for products from UMC; and technological and development risks.

The world DRAM market is led by Samsung Electronics with a market share of 45%, followed by SK Hynix (28%) and Micron (14%).

And if Chinese chipmakers advance to the technological capabilities of South Korean chipmakers in the future, "there could be a stronger pressure or sanction on Korean companies", akin to the Micron ban, the insider said.


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