Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that the major U.S. storage manufacturer, Micron Technology, is disbanding its Shanghai Research and Development (R&D) center with about 150 employees. It has selected more than 40 core R&D personnel to provide qualifications for immigrating to the United States. These core employees will be able to bring their family members and immigrate to the United States. It is still unclear how many employees will choose the immigration path. Sources confirmed that, instead of disbanding the entire Shanghai R&D center, Micron only took out the DRAM design department, which has more than 100 people in total. In addition to the design team, the Micron Shanghai R&D Center also includes sales, testing and other departments. According to a former Micron employee, Micron’s DRAM design team had previously lost a large number of personnel to Chinese domestic chip design companies and storage manufacturers. Micron’s move is highly likely to prevent technology leakage. Although the number of domestic DRAM companies is relatively small, yet several new DRAM manufacturers may emerge in the next few years and the existing DRAM companies are also looking for talent. Micron is apparently consolidating its product design and R&D capabilities to areas outside Mainland China. Micron has been emphasizing the importance of intellectual property protection for a long time. Micron had previously taken UMC to court for leaking trade secrets. Micron indicated after winning the case that intellectual property protection is an important cornerstone for Micron to remain competitive. Currently, Samsung ranks first in the market with a market share of 41.5 percent, SK Hynix ranks second with a market share of 29.3 percent, and Micron ranks third with a market share of 23.4 percent. The top three manufacturers together account for 94.2% of the global DRAM market.
Source: Sina, January 25, 2022