Intel Investing $1.5B In Chinese Mobile Chip Suppliers To Bolster Handset Business

Intel is looking to be a major player in the mobile market. How else could you explain its acquisition of 1,400 Powerwave patents earlier this month? But the company is not done. Yesterday, Intel announced that it is investing $1.5 billion into Chinese mobile chip suppliers.

Intel and Tsinghua Unigroup LTd have signed a series of agreements allowing Intel to invest up to $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake of the holding company that owns Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectonics. The deal revolves around the expansion of product offerings and adoption of Intel-based mobile devices in China and even worldwide. Spreadtrum, in particular, will create and sell a series of System-on-Chips (SoCs) featuring Intel Architecture.

Image Source: Flickr (Chris Potter)

"China is now the largest consumption market for smartphones and has the largest number of Internet users in the world," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "These agreements with Tsinghua Unigroup underscore Intel's 29-year-long history of investing in and working in China. This partnership will also enhance our ability to support a wider range of mobile customers in China and the rest of the world by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions."

Spreadtrum and RDA develop mobile chipset platforms for a variety of electronic products including smart phones and are leading fables semiconductor companies in China. Intel’s focus on China appears to be a growing trend as companies are looking to tap into the growing market that has a strong demand for handsets that retail for under $150.

The deal is expected to close in early 2015 once it receives regulatory approvals.