After Samsung was investigated by the National Development and Reform Commission of China at the end of last year, the Chinese anti-trust agency recently interviewed the world's third largest memory chip producer, Micron. The survey may involve DRAM price hikes and abuse of market dominance last year to suppress Chinese companies.
In the past two years, as DRAM prices have remained high, the revenue of upstream manufacturers has increased dramatically. In addition to Samsung’s revenue and innovation record, Micron’s financial report for the second quarter of 2018, announced on the 22nd, also surpassed the best record in history. The financial report shows that Micron’s revenue in the second quarter of 2018 reached US$7.35 billion, an increase of 58% year-on-year.
While the storage industry is being dominated by Samsung, Hynix, and Micron, the industry is increasingly questioning the three major manufacturers for reaching a tacit understanding and manipulating market prices.
Last month, Samsung, Hynix, and Micron faced litigation in the United States. The three companies were accused of colluding between 2016 and 2017 to limit the supply of various DRAM products on the market, artificially driving up DRAM prices. According to the data, as of mid-2017, Samsung, Hynix, and Micron all accounted for 96% of the global DRAM chip market share. In the period of lawsuit charges, the price of DRAM rose by 130%.
According to the provisions of China's anti-monopoly law, the market share accounts for more than 50%, which can be presumed to have a dominant market position. Whether or not it is suspected of monopoly can not rely solely on market share as the basis for determination, but on the basis of whether or not the implementation of antimonopoly law provides specific monopoly behavior. If the investigation proves that the three major manufacturers jointly increase prices, it constitutes a monopoly behavior which prohibited by China’s anti-monopoly law.