Troubled chipmaker Renesas is talking to one of its bigger clients, Apple, to see if it's interested in buying a chunk its smartphone display chip unit.

According to Nikkei, Renesas is making huge loses and wants to buy its way into the car industry market and do that it is considering selling its 55 percent stake in Renesas SP Driver, which makes semiconductors that control displays.

These are the chips that are an important part of Apple's iPhone range so it thinks that Apple will want to buy. Apple, for its part, needs to get a better control over its supply chain if it is going to be able make enough phones to keep up with Samsung and Huawei.

In the Red

Nikkei said that Apple is not the only company that Renesas is talking to but the feeling is that it has to do something quickly. The company lost $6.28 billion and has been in the red for eight years.

If Apple bought the 54 per cent share, Sharp could also sell its 25 percent stake in the unit if requested to do so by Apple leaving Taiwan's Powerchip holding the fort with Apple.

It is not clear though if Apple would want to invest such a huge amount of cash in a loss making company which only makes a small part of its phone parts.