Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is seeking to mend fences in China, the world's largest smartphone market, by launching a new unit aimed at helping Chinese smartphone makers sell overseas. A little less than three months after Qualcomm agreed to pay a fine of $975 million and change its licensing practices in China as a result of a Chinese antitrust investigation, Qualcomm wants to present itself as a helpful partner. Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, OnePlus and others have been seeking to expand into markets outside of Asia.
Earlier this year Qualcomm set up a globalization office in Shenzhen to help Chinese OEMs expand internationally, said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president of Qualcomm China. "One of the things we are doing that is new is a significant refocusing of our efforts on supporting our Chinese customers to export out of China," he told the Wall Street Journal. Qualcomm is also seeking to highlight more publicly its partnerships and investments in China, Lorbeck said. Article (sub. req.)
Meanwhile, Qualcomm has been facing calls from an activist investor, Jana Partners, to split up its chipset business from its patent-licensing unit, which generates around two-thirds of the company's profits. Qualcomm has said it thinks the units are best kept under one roof. As Re/code notes, the licensing unit gives Qualcomm the money to invest in new chipset and wireless technologies years in advance so that it can reap the reward down the road and maintain a leadership position in mobile. Article