That may be decided today at the meeting between Hon Hai’s Chairman and the US President.
Hon Hai’s Chairman, Terry Gou, is set on buying Toshiba. If he buys it, Toshiba’s 3D NAND technology will very likely leak to China where two huge fabs are being built to make 3D NAND. The China fabs currently lack advanced manufacturing technology.
If the fabs get the technology from a Hon Hai-controlled Toshiba, then the Chinese will very likely flood the market with cheap 3D NAND.
Up to now the US government has been very protective of US semiconductor technology leaking to China and has stopped loads of US semiconductor companies being sold to China.
But what will President Donald Trump make of it?
He might well take the view that it would be no bad thing if the world were flooded with cheap 3D NAND.
It would certainly help the manufacturers of electronic goods, many of whom use 3D NAND and are encountering rising prices and constrained supply.
And no one uses more 3D NAND than Apple.
Apple must be concerned that the supply of 3D NAND is now in the hands of four players – Samsung, Micron/Intel, Hynix and Toshiba – who are not exactly falling over themselves to add capacity.
A new source of NAND – a source prepared to build massive manufacturing capacity and undercut the incumbent suppliers – would be very agreeable to Apple.
And Hon Hai is Apple’s long-time manufacturing partner, and gets half its revenues from Apple and has associated Apple in its $27 billion bid for Toshiba.
The decision on who buys Toshiba is, of course, in the hands of Japan’s government but it is very likely that the Japanese would respond to a steer from the President of the USA.
The plot thickens.