Qual­comm JV to fo­cus on drones and ro­bots

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Qual­comm Inc on Mon­day set up a joint ven­ture with a Chi­nese tech firm to de­velop tech­nolo­gies used in drones, vir­tual re­al­ity gog­gles and other "smart devices" that the US chip gi­ant be­lieves will be the next big thing af­ter the smart­phone boom.

The new JV, named Thun­der­comm, will pro­vide prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies for lo­cal firms which are build­ing the next-gen­er­a­tion drones, ro­bots, VR devices and wear­ables, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Qual­comm and its Chi­nese part­ner Thun­der Soft­ware Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd, or Thun­der­soft.

The reg­is­tered cap­i­tal of Thun­der­comm was 18.74 mil­lion yuan ($2.8 mil­lion) and the Bei­jing­based Thun­der­soft will con­trol nearly 82 per­cent of the JV, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Thun­der­soft. An in­vest­ment sub­sidiary of Qual­comm took the rest of the new com­pany's stake.

The JV will be lo­cated at the Fairy Peach Data Val­ley in Yubei District, south­west China's Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The in­land mega city has be­come one of the world's largest man­u­fac­tur­ing bases of the smart devices in re­cent years.

Zhang Shutao, gen­eral man­ager of Thun­der­comm, said the JV will get to use in­tel­lec­tual pa­tents from Qual­comm.

"We will have a lot op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with Qual­comm in IP, ... the JV will find ways to help cus­tomers get ac­cess to Qual­comm's IPs," Zhang said. Frank Meng, chair­man of Qual­comm China, told China Daily in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view ear­lier this month Chi­nese star­tups are set to lead the world in in­no­va­tion in an ar­ray of emerg­ing sec­tors.

Chi­nese tech firms are mak­ing tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs in­stead of wait­ing for ideas im­ported from over­seas com­pa­nies, said Meng.

"Lo­cal ven­dors are com­ing up with gi­gan­tic amount of ideas that suit re­quire­ments of Chi­nese cus­tomers. Qual­comm wants to be a part of this new trend that will un­lock an­other tril­lion-yuan mar­ket," said the 56year-old.

Ma Long­wen, an an­a­lyst from Changjiang Se­cu­ri­ties Co, said the new JV will give an edge to Thun­der­soft in many ar­eas, in­clud­ing drone mak­ing, smart au­to­mo­bile and VR. "It re­quires a large num­ber of high-end chips to make a drone, as global or­ders for drones reach­ing the high­est level on record, the JV is fac­ing a huge mar­ket de­mand be­cause it is en­dorsed by Qual­comm tech­nolo- gies," ac­cord­ing to Ma.

While sec­tors such as VR and op­er­at­ing sys­tem used in au­to­mo­biles are not big to­day, they are set to re­ceive huge user base like smart­phones did, he added.

The es­tab­lish­ment of Thun­der­comm was also the first ma­jor China in­vest­ment from Qual­comm since it set up a Guizhoureg­is­tered firm to man­age in­vest­ments on the Chi­nese main­land in Jan­uary. Qual­comm is mov­ing its in­vest­ment fo­cus to in­land provinces to echo a num­ber of na­tional strate­gies aimed to boost econ­omy in the less-de­vel­oped re­gions tak­ing ad­van­tage of the In­ter­net and new tech­nolo­gies.

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