Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.45% may start buying NAND flash memory chips from a state-backed Chinese company, according to the Nikkei Asian Review , which wrote Wednesday that the two companies had been in talks. Were Apple to indeed bring on the company, Yanktze Memory Technologies, as a supplier, it would mark the first time the smartphone maker bought memory chips from a Chinese company, according to the report. Apple currently gets NAND chips from several providers, including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.67% , Toshiba Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205628942/delayed JP:6502 -1.33% , and Western Digital Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204213617/composite WDC +1.83% , the Nikkei Asian Review said, and the company might only start out with a small order from Yangtze if a deal is reached. Memory chips have become expensive over the last two years and Apple has already made a move to own part of a distributor. Shares of memory companies including Micron Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU +3.88% and Western Digital were down in Wednesday morning trading. Apple's stock is down 0.5% in Wednesday trading but up 22% over the past 12 months, compared with a 20% rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.40% .