Chinese internet services company Qihoo 360 is reported to have invested in device maker Blephone, creating a “formal partnership” which will see Qihoo technology integrated into smartphones.

According to Marbridge Daily, Qihoo and a Chinese private equity firm participated in a Blephone Series A funding round. With sales of 20 million devices in 2016, and China’s three mobile operators as its most important channels, Blephone is targeting shipments of 30 million units in 2017.

This is not the first time that Qihoo made a move in the devices market. An earlier tie-up with Coolpad ended ignominiously, with Coolpad subsequently ending up in bed with LeEco.

While Qihoo does not have quite the profile of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, the company does have an impressive reach with its internet and mobile security products. It said it monetises its user base through advertising and value-added services.

Certainly it will provide Blephone with more credibility and reach in what is already a hugely competitive market, although the company will still be working against high-profile rivals with an established presence in the mobile space.