Startups and individual developers of freeware-licensed software in China are set to get a funding boost of 1 billion RMB (US$146 million).
Sequoia Capital China, Highland Capital and Qihoo 360 announced plans to invest the sum into the country's freeware software industry, according to reports on Friday.
The funds will go toward incubation and merger and acquisition (M&A) efforts, targeted at smaller startups and individual developers. The joint investment will also go toward teaching entrepreneurs how to plan, promote and execute their fledgling software companies.
Zhou Hongyi, Qihoo 360 Chairman said in a Sina report that freeware is embraced readily by users in the country, but noted that freeware makers have problems attracting investment compared to developers of online games and social networking applications.
Zhou said these challenges were due to the fact that freeware is easily imitated by large software makers, resulting in smaller development houses abandoning popular projects once these get eclipsed by imitations from larger makers.
Qihoo 360 is the maker of a popular freeware antivirus software.