Toshiba is the world's second biggest flash memory chipmaker but has put its chips business up for sale to make up for a write down of $6.5bn in its U.S. nuclear equipment operations.
These concerns were raised in regard to Foxconn's participation in the auction, because of the company's links to China.
Yukihito Uchida, a spokesman for Toshiba, declined to comment on Apple's involvement and the NHK article. Apple is considering a range of options from partnering with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.to joining with Japanese investors on a bid, said the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Elpida is now owned by USA -based Micron Technology Inc.
Western Digital, one of Toshiba's business partners and one of the bidders for the chip business, warned that Toshiba would be violating a joint venture contract by selling the business.
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Toshiba chips feature in smartphones but also computers and data centres. An Apple bid would add another layer of complexity, given its large cash position and influence as the maker of iPhones.
Toshiba plans to sell up to its entire stake in its memory operations as it struggles with losses from its nuclear power business in the United States.
Toshiba has reportedly narrowed down the list of bidders to Western Digital, Foxconn, Hynix, and a joint bid between USA chip maker Broadcom and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. It is unclear whether it participated in the first round of the auction that sources have said drew around 10 offers.
Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa earlier said, "We will put priority on the price and the quick completion of transaction when selecting an acquirer".