Mobile chip maker Qualcomm will invest $150 million in startups in India as it looks to expand its presence in the highly important emerging market.
Company officials announced the move Sept. 27, after they met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Digital Economy event in San Jose, Calif. They said it is a continuation of Qualcomm's efforts to help smaller tech companies in the country, noting that the vendor first invested in Indian startups in 2007.
It's also part of a larger effort by the world's largest mobile chip vendor to target growing economies. Qualcomm has made several moves in the potentially lucrative Chinese market, including announcing in December 2014 that it will invest as much as $40 million in Chinese tech vendors that are developing products in such areas as mobile, wireless and the Internet of things (IoT).
"Since Qualcomm's first India investment in 2007 and with full-fledged presence starting in early 2008, we continue to invest broadly to strengthen India's overall economy," Nagraj Kashyap, senior vice president of Qualcomm, said in a statement. "We are committed to providing these companies with the support needed to help propel them forward in the competitive Indian region."
Qualcomm has invested in more than 20 companies in India since 2007, with the startups working in such technology areas as mobile hardware, software platforms, e-commerce, health care, location-based services and retail, according to officials.
Qualcomm also has looked for other ways to invest in early-stage companies, including the creation of the QPrize competition, a global seed investment effort aimed at entrepreneurs looking for initial investment, and of an early-stage fund.
In India, part of Qualcomm's investment portfolio includes Yourstory, a media technology platform for entrepreneurs, in-home health-care provider Portea, and MapMyIndia, which offers products and services for digital mapping, navigation and tracking.
Along with investing in Indian startups, Qualcomm over the past two decade also has been working with mobile operators, OEMs, original design manufacturers (ODMs), software developers, government and academic institutions, and others to build out the country's mobile communications capabilities, according to company officials.
Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs said his company's efforts in India dovetail with Modi's "vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. India is at the cusp of a technology revolution and mobile technologies will lay the foundation for Digital India."