Qualcomm commits millions to Chinese venture fund

The chip maker is investing up to $150 million in Chinese startup companies related to a range of mobile technologies -- even as the country's regulators investigate alleged anti-competitive behavior in the wireless standards industry.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on
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Qualcomm has committed up to $150 million in funding for Chinese startup companies in the mobile technology R&D field.

Announced on Thursday, the US-based chip maker said the strategic venture fund will further the development of mobile technology related to the Web, e-commerce, semiconductors, education and health.

The most recent investments have been made in Chinese mobile education startup Cambridge Wowo and mobile healthcare firm Boohee.

The chip maker has been investing in Chinese companies for over 10 years, and some previous successful investments have been made in companies including Enorbus -- acquired by Walt Disney Co. -- Aicent, Thundersoft and Dolphin Browser. However, Qualcomm says that it sees China as a "strong player in the semiconductor industry," and wishes to increase investment in this area in particular.

Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer of Qualcomm commented:

"Our strategic collaboration with and technical support of the Chinese wireless industry has helped this vibrant ecosystem, helped drive direct and indirect employment, and contributed to economic growth in the entire Chinese wireless industry.

Through these strategic collaborations and increased venture investments, Qualcomm remains committed to supporting the continuous growth of China's flourishing mobile ecosystem, the development of 4G LTE networks, devices and applications, and addressing industry evolutions and challenges, including the impending 1000x mobile data challenge."

Qualcomm Ventures was launched in 2000 and currently has a portfolio of more than 100 companies and 20 investment managers across the globe. Qualcomm Ventures also invests in seed stage companies through the QPrize Mobile Internet Startup Competition.

In related news, China's antitrust regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), claims that Qualcomm holds a monopoly in the wireless communication standards market. The regulator suspects the chip maker is abusing its market position -- charging low royalty rates in order to squeeze out the competition -- and such allegations could see the firm paying fines of $1 billion if this is found to be the case.

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