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Intel Invests $67 Million in 8 Chinese Tech Companies

The plan is to accelerate product development in China, a country that is drawing a lot of attention from U.S. tech vendors.

Intel logo

Intel is continuing to ramp up its efforts in the China market, with the latest move being $67 million in investments in eight Chinese tech companies that touch on such markets as robotics, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of things.

Officials with the world's largest chip maker said the investments are part of a larger effort to help propel technology innovation in the country and the development of an ecosystem around Chinese-created technologies.

The companies Intel is investing in include 99cloud, an OpenStack-based cloud solutions vendor; Bluebank Communication Technology; Hampoo, an electronics manufacturer; Ninebot, which makes smart transportation products; Nuovo Film, which makes nano-materials with a focus on touch applications; and robotics firm PraFly.

The other companies are AWcloud, another OpenStack-based cloud technology maker, and Telink Semiconductor.

The investments are Intel's latest effort to grow its presence in the China market, which is becoming increasingly popular with U.S. tech vendors, given the sheer size of its population and the growing affluence of its rising middle class. The China market also represents an opportunity for Intel to extend its silicon into markets beyond its core PC and server spaces and into new growth areas, including the cloud, mobile systems, robotics and the Internet of things (IoT).

More than half of Intel's quarterly revenue comes from its Client Computing Group, which includes PCs and mobile devices.

The company last month announced it was investing more than $60 million in Chinese drone manufacturer Yuneec. At the time, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said, "At Intel, we believe in a smart and connected world, and one of the best ways to bring that smart and connected world to everyone and everywhere has been drones."

Intel, which officials said has been active in China for 30 years, has been aggressive in the past year in its efforts in the country. The company last year announced plans to invest $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in Tsinghua Unigroup, which runs Chinese chip designers RDA Microelectronics and Spreadtrum Communications. It also created a $100 million fund and an innovation center in China to fuel the development of smart systems, such as smartphones and wearable devices powered by its processors, and unveiled a partnership with Rockchip to create Intel-based SoCs for tablets.

Intel in December 2014 said it was investing another $1.6 billion in the next 15 years to upgrade a chip plant in China.

A broad array of other tech vendors, including Qualcomm and Hewlett-Packard, are making similar efforts in the country.