Infineon files complaint against Korean chip rival

German chipmaker Infineon Technologies has accused the South Korean government of keeping Hynix Semiconductor, a rival...

German chipmaker Infineon Technologies has accused the South Korean government of keeping Hynix Semiconductor, a rival manufacturer of memory chips, "artificially alive" by providing the company with "several billion dollars in government backing".

Infineon had filed a complaint with the European Commission before the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an antitrust probe into collusion on chip pricing, Infineon spokeswoman Katja Schlendorf said.

"Our complaint with the commission has absolutely nothing to do with the US investigation; these are two completely separate cases," Schlendorf said. "We filed our complaint two weeks ago.

"We believe, like many other manufacturers, that this is unfair aid and distorts competition."

The German company filed the complaint alone. The consultation period during which the commission will review the complaint will last "several weeks", she said.

The DOJ is investigating possible antitrust violations in pricing for dynamic RAM DRAM) memory chips. The investigation involves Micron Technology, Samsung Electronics, Nanya Technology, Winbond Electronics and Elpida Memory, in addition to Infineon and Hynix.

What success Infineon can expect from its complaint remains to be seen: The German company itself benefited from a government subsidy of €219m (£142m) to build a chip plant in Dresden. The commission approved the subsidy in April.

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