Qualcomm announces investment in Mobike and eight other Chinese startups


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Qualcomm is constant its appeal offensive in China, a vital market the place it has suffered onerous blows in recent times together with a $1 billion anti-trust fantastic, after it introduced a flurry of recent investments.

These are chaotic occasions for Qualcomm, which is fielding undesirable acquisition curiosity from Broadcom and battling Apple in court docket, however immediately it put the main focus again on supporting upcoming applied sciences, albeit for a short second. The agency mentioned it has invested in 9 corporations based mostly in China utilizing its $150 million China Enterprise Fund introduced in 2014 which span internet-of-things, massive information, synthetic intelligence and extra.

Most outstanding of the 9 is bike-sharing large Mobike, which has over 100 million customers in China and is making worldwide strikes, whereas fast-growing $1.5 billion-valued AI startup SenseTime, which raised a $410 million Sequence B spherical in July, is one other title with present pedigree.

Mobike has labored carefully with Qualcomm over its worldwide growth, which makes use of a single platform to allow any of its bikes to be deployed rapidly to any worldwide market, however that is the primary time that an funding has been revealed.

The cope with SenseTime, in the meantime, has not but been disclosed however it’s reportedly a part of a $500 million spherical, which might be the biggest financing spherical for an AI startup worldwide up to now.

These two unicorns apart, the opposite startups embrace:

  • Creatcomm Expertise — which offers lengthy distance wi-fi video/information transmission options.
  • Kneron — an on-device AI answer supplier with a give attention to software program re-configuration
    and compression. Qualcomm took half in its Sequence A spherical alongside traders like Alibaba’s Entrepreneurs Fund and Sequoia.
  • Factor Zone — which develops software program and providers to energy unattended comfort shops. That’s a rising development that Alibaba, amongst others, is exploring to mix offline commerce with on-line. Qualcomm clarified that this funding is agreed in precept however hasn’t closed but
  • Microduino — the corporate behind the world’s smallest sequence of Arduino-compatible good modules that can be utilized for quite a lot of DIY initiatives and schooling functions. TechCrunch profiled the corporate and its merchandise at CES 2016.
  • Magic AI — which is constructing a platform to convey synthetic intelligence, digital actuality and augmented actuality to particular industries and verticals. Its first product, StableGuard, is an AI-powered monitoring and alert system for horse stables.
  • Beijing Agriculture Marketing consultant and Good Administration (ACSM) — a follow-up funding on this firm which offers clever techniques to assist farmers convey industrial effectivity to their enterprise.
  • Alo7 — an internet tutoring startup which operates a “totally immerse” English-language examine atmosphere for educating main college kids. That is additionally a follow-on funding.

“This group of progressive corporations focuses on AI, IoT and different areas. We attempt to assist these corporations make their concepts and creativity a actuality, by offering monetary, know-how and enterprise help. Qualcomm Ventures will proceed to allow innovation amongst startups within the frontier tech areas, and assist develop your entire trade,” Quinn Li, VP and international head of Qualcomm Ventures, mentioned in an announcement.

Qualcomm’s China enterprise enterprise has near 40 portfolio corporations immediately. It branched out into what it calls “frontier applied sciences” in 2015 to place the give attention to upcoming tech equivalent to AI, internet-of issues, machine studying and VR.

The U.S. agency introduced an analogous batch of funding offers again in late 2015, and this newest spherical of offers comes off the again of some critical politicking in China, a market that accounts for greater than half of its income.

Throughout President Trump’s go to to China, Qualcomm introduced offers with three high cell makers — Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo — to promote upwards of $12 billion in parts for his or her gadgets. Simply weeks earlier than, Qualcomm tried to set off a ban the sale of Apple’s iPhone in China in a continuation of the 2 agency’s international patent spat.

Apple is claimed to have designed upcoming iPhones that don’t embrace Qualcomm’s chips, and the agency is claiming that, in doing so, the telephone maker has taken benefit of its “unprecedented entry” to its tech.

These offers may go somewhat method to currying extra favor in China, however it shouldn’t be forgotten that Apple has additionally invested in Chinese language tech startups, too. The agency inked a uncommon funding when it put $1 billion into Didi Chuxing as a part of a gargantuan $5.5 billion increase for the taxi hailing firm final yr.

Featured Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Photos

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