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March 31 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is exploring new suppliers for memory chips used in its iPhones, including a potentially first Chinese supplier, after a key Japanese partner had an output disruption, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

Japan-based Kioxia Holdings Corp a key supplier of flash memory chips to Apple had reported a contamination last month at two of its manufacturing facilities, which the company said will result in reduced production. read more

Apple is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips by Chinese semiconductor company Yangtze Memory Technologies Co, the report said, adding that the iPhone maker has been discussing the tie-up for months.

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Yangtze declined to comment and Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for a comment on the report.

Earlier this month, another key Apple supplier Foxconn had to suspend its Shenzhen operations due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. read more

A persistent industry-wide shortage of chips has also disrupted production in the automotive and electronics industries, forcing some firms to scale back production.

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Reporting by Akanksha Khushi and Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.