Intel Capital is investing a total of $67 million in eight Chinese companies, including Shenzhen PraFly Technology, a robotics company. Intel recently gave $60 million to Chinese drone maker Yuneec International Co.
PraFly designs robotic control systems for vehicles, energy management, and smart kitchens. It also supports manufacturing and logistics, network auditing systems, and cloud-based, high-performance computing.
The other venture capital recipients include hardware and software makers, cloud computing providers, and Ninebot, which recently acquired Segway. Intel didn’t specify the amounts given to each of the following companies:
- 99cloud, which offers OpenStack-based cloud computing services
- AWcloud Technology (Beijing Haiyun Jiexun Technology Co.), another OpenStack cloud services provider
- Bluebank Communication Technology Co., which develops smartphones, tablets, and software for third parties
- Ninebot Inc., which makes personal transportation devices
- Nuovo Film Inc., a touchscreen maker whose technology is used in Apple and other devices
- Shenzhen Hampoo Science & Technology Co., an electronics components company
- Shenzhen PraFly Technology (Shenzhen Chi-Technology Co.)
- Telink Semiconductor, which creates chips for Internet of Things devices
According to China Daily, Intel has already invested in 12 Chinese companies this year, including $1 billion in state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup, which owns mobile chip maker Beijing Unispreadtrum Technology Ltd. In addition, 35 companies have launched because of further acquisitions or initial public offerings.
Intel noted that it has invested a total of almost $2 billion in China over the past 30 years. Like Qualcomm, Dell, and other Western IT companies, Intel is interested in developing an “ecosystem” around its processors. This includes supporting startups in emerging technologies and finding international partners, particularly in the growing Chinese market.
“Our investments, new products and collaborations in China support the government?s national initiative to uplift its innovation economy and continue Intel?s long-term commitment to accelerating CTE development in China and driving global innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Intel in a statement.
Intel spreads its wealth
Although shipments of PCs have slowed in the past few years, Intel is betting that demand for mobile devices, including robots, will increase to offset any decline in chip demand.
The company highlighted smart devices such as prosthetic limbs that can connect to the Internet at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco a few months ago. At the event, Savioke demonstrated its robotic butler, which uses Intel’s RealSense camera and is being deployed at the Crowne Plaza in San Jose, Calif.
More on Chinese Robotics Investments:
Earlier this month, Intel promised $50 million over 10 years to the Technical University of Delft’s QuTech unit for research into quantum computing.
In addition, Intel has partnered with reality show producer Mark Burnett and Turner Broadcasting for America’s Greatest Makers. The televised competition will focus on wearable technologies and award $1 million to the winner.