Qualcomm Technologies is working with some Chinese local companies on solutions for the Internet of Things, according to Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Interactive Platforms and SVP of Qualcomm Technologies took the stage at TechCrunch China/TechNode conference. Mr. Chandhok is responsible for Qualcomm strategies on the Internet of Everything, wearable computing and augmented reality.

China is one of the most important markets for Qualcomm now. 49% of its total revenue in the fiscal year ending September 2013 was from China. Apart from smartphones consumed by Chinese, a larger percentage of made-in-China smartphones with Qualcomm chipsets embedded in are exported.

But the rollout of LTE, or 4G which is expected to be the next major revenue source for Qualcomm in China, wasn’t so fast as Qualcomm expected, according to its CEO Steve Mollenkopf during the company’s Q2 earnings call earlier this year. 

That a wave of Chinese startups working on smart home, connected automobile and the like, are emerging may be a big opportunity for Qualcomm.

Qualcomm actually has been making investments in some of the Chinese tech startups. The company has invested in Xiaomi, the rising star of smart devices and mobile services that has been introducing all types of smart hardware products, CooTek, the company behind the mobile keyboard app TouchPal which has had 200 million users worldwide, and semiconductor companies AMEC and Thundersoft, among others.

Last month, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf announced in Beijing, China to invest US$150 million in startups in China. The first investees include Wowokid, an online English-learning service for pre-school kids, and Boohee, a fitness service.

More than five years ago QPrize, a seed investment competition by Qualcomm Ventures, landed in China. Wowokid was one of the finalists of 2013 QPrize in China.

But the company has encountered troubles related to China recently. Since last November, Qualcomm has been under anti-trust investigation launched by he China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). It is speculated the the Chinese authorities want to gain leverage in royalty negotiations on LTE for local companies. During his visit to Beijing in July, Qualcomm CEO announced to collaborate on 28-nm wafer production with Chinese semiconductor company SMIC in China, which is seen as a move to mend the relationship with Chinese authorities.

In April this year the company said they received a notice from could face a civil action from Securities and Exchange Commission’s Los Angeles office on alleged bribery of officials associated with Chinese state-owned companies.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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