Research company TrendForce predicted Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), which is reportedly China’s biggest producer of flash memory, could be forced to pull out of the 3D NAND market by 2024 after being added to a US list of companies banned from importing certain goods.

The Wall Street Journal reported YMTC and dozens more Chinese companies were added to the list yesterday (15 December), with the sale of equipment or related goods from the US to the companies requiring review and approval by the Department of Commerce.

In a statement, TrendForce highlighted YMTC faces a “huge technical obstacle” in the development of its latest 3D NAND flash technology if it cannot import key equipment.

TrendForce noted YMTC will be “severely constrained from raising its bit output” due to the restriction on acquiring equipment parts and technical support from US partners, with its share of the flash memory market expected to weaken.

It added the memory manufacturer is “at risk of exiting the market” for 3D NAND flash products.

TrendForce added YMTC’s situation could worsen for YMTC if the US widens the scope of the sanctions, and Dutch and Japanese equipment makers joint it by halting sales of deep ultraviolet immersion lithography systems to Chinese customers.

The research company added NAND flash buyers outside of China are already reluctant about adopting YMTC’s technology, adding a US-based smartphone brand held off on purchasing mobile storage from the company.

In early October, the US tightened restrictions of the sale of advanced chipmaking equipment and software to China.