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Qualcomm launches $150 million fund to support startups based in China

LinuxTag 2011 - Qualcomm

More and more money is pouring into funds specifically for Asia-based startups. Today San Diego-based mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm announced it has established a US$150 million fund for startups based in China (hat-tip The Next Web).

Despite being best known as a maker of chips and telecom equipment Qualcomm is no stranger to startup investments. In China, its been actively funding young companies for ten years, and currently boasts companies like phonemaker Xiaomi, mobile app makers Dolphin Browser, and Uber-esque limo-on-demand app Yongche among its roster of investments.

Even though the component world might not directly tie up to the world of mobile software, Qualcomm nevertheless depends on the health of software companies in order to sustain its own business. Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, gave the following statement on the new fund:

“Since first introducing our technology and products in China well over a decade ago, Qualcomm has contributed to China’s wireless industry through investing in research and development, licensing our advanced technologies, and providing the most advanced chipsets to Chinese companies. 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.”

In other words, what’s good for the Chinese mobile internet is good for Qualcomm.

The inaugural investments from the new fund, which Qualcomm states will be “advised and directed” by its Qualcomm Ventures arm, look as though they firmly face the domestic market, in contrast to global players Xiaomi and Dolphin. Cambridge Wow is an app that offers up English lessons and other tutorials for Chinese youngsters, and looks more or less like what you’d expect from an child’s education app. Boohee (bohewang), meanwhile, is a social network and ecommerce site centered around weight loss and nutrition.

bohewang

Boohee members can post photos of themselves before and after finishing weight loss programs.

Qualcomm’s announcement comes as the latest in a series of new investment funds specifically for startups in Asia. Just within the past six months, Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten announced a US$100 million fund for startups in Asia and beyond, Monk’s Hill Ventures launched a US$80 million fund for the Southeast Asian ecosystem, and CyberAgent Ventures doubled the size of its previous fund to US$50 million.

Editing by Paul Bischoff, top image via Flickr user linuxtag

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