I have posted numerous times about the rising prices of DDR4, the cause being attributed to the massive increase in demand from the switch to DDR4 for desktops and laptops but and LP-DDR4 found in mobiles. That hasn’t stopped many people on Reddit claiming that the big manufacturers are price fixes.
It turns out that the Reddit users could actually be right, in January that the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission’s Pricing Supervision Department were also suspicious and were planning on looking into the issues related to price fixing.
They have been looking into Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix, who combined control over 90% of the DRAM market and it is believed that if they have breached China’s anti-trust laws, each company could be fined between $800 million and $8 billion, with fines based on DRAM sales between 2016 and 2017.
Along with the increased supply issues one of the reasons behind the raised prices has been believed to be because Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron have kept prices high and have delayed capacity expansions to coincide with the introduction of Chinese-made DRAM, which could crash the market and leave Chinese producers without any profit. In effect, this move could kill off China’s DRAM startups, keeping the big three dominants in the DRAM market.
With China being such a large buyer of DRAM Chinese regulators want to make things easier for their OEMs while protecting their DRAM makers from a potential/sudden crash in DRAM pricing.