According to Digitimes the move is part of a cunning plan to establish a Chinese industry covering storage devices, DRAM and NAND flash memory.
But the move is odd as Unisplendor, a unit of Tsinghua Unigroup, has already reached a deal to buy 15 per cent of Western Digital. It also wants Micron Technology and to build a 12-inch JV fab with the US-based vendor. If it does that then China will step into the DRAM sector.
The plan looks like Tsinghua Unigroup will take 10-20 per cent stake in Micron and form a strategic alliance with the US company, the sources said. That sort of deal will not miff the US regulators too much but would give the Chinese what they want.
China knows that reaching an agreement with Micron to partner in the NAND flash field will be difficult, since Micron does not own its memory process technologies. Toshiba and SanDisk have therefore become a new target to fill in the gaps.
Buying either Toshiba's memory business or SanDisk's will give Tsinghua Unigroup access to their technology and product portfolios, and raise China's self-sufficiency rate for ICs, the sources noted.
Charles Kau, a senior executive from Taiwan's DRAM industry, will play a key figure in negotiating with Micron for some form of cooperation in the DRAM field. Kau is expected to join Tsinghua Unigroup soon after leaving his current job.
It will be interesting if it succeeds. It would show that government intervention can actually trump market concerns if enough cash is thrown at a problem.