Qualcomm launches unit to help Chinese smartphone makers expand overseas

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 5:32pm

US chipmaker Qualcomm has launched a unit to help Chinese smartphone makers with overseas sales as the firm attempts to repair relationships with Beijing following a major antitrust case.

Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of chips for smartphones, draws around half of its revenue from China.

In February it agreed with the National Development and Reform Commission, which oversees China’s antitrust rules, to pay 6 billion yuan (US$966 million) to settle a 15-month antitrust investigation into its wireless patent licensing practices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the firm has established a "globalisation" office in Shenzhen to restore relationships with Chinese smartphone manufacturers and help connect them with overseas markets.

"[This] is a significant refocusing of our efforts on supporting our Chinese customers to export out of China," Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president of Qualcomm China, told the newspaper.

Lorbeck said that the company is trying to be more public about its dealings in China following the antitrust case. It recently announced a US$150 million fund to be used for investments in Chinese start-ups and a senior Qualcomm China executive was filmed dancing with Sesame Street characters to promote mobile road safety to children.

The fine was the largest ever imposed against a company in China, but lower than some media speculation that it would have been over 10 billion yuan.

Many US firms have faced difficulties in China in recent months, with Beijing announcing in February that it was dropping Cisco Systems and Apple, among other companies, from its approved state procurement lists amid fears of Western surveillance.