Qualcomm beefed up its partnership with China-based artificial intelligence (AI) company SenseTime by confirming it will invest in the business as part of a funding round set to close later this year.
In a statement, SenseTime said it signed a “strategic investment agreement” with Qualcomm, building on an deal struck in October which will see the companies collaborate on developing “on-device AI solutions”.
Specifically, Qualcomm said in October it would use the partnership to leverage SenseTime’s machine learning models and algorithms and its Snapdragon chips, which offer heterogeneous computing capabilities, for client-based AI.
SenseTime raised $410 million in a Series B funding round concluded in July, backed mainly by China-based financial company CDH Investments and China’s state-backed Sailing Capital, and is looking to raise a reported $500 million in the latest round.
Qualcomm did not confirm the value of its investment, but SenseTime said Qualcomm’s funding would enable its proprietary AI algorithms to be deployed “in even more smartphones and devices”.
In the statement Quinn Li, VP and global head of Qualcomm’s ventures division, said the investment in SenseTime will enable the AI company to invest more in research and development.
“Given our shared vision and customers, our collaboration will offer customers more integrated solutions, reduce the cost of deploying AI technologies for intelligent device OEMs, shorten the R&D cycle, and therefore rapidly upgrade the entire terminal device industry,” he said.
In addition to SenseTime, Qualcomm Ventures also reportedly invested in eight China-based start-ups, as part of a flurry of activity in the market.
The most prominent of the eight is bike-sharing firm Mobike, which has 100 million users in China.
The other start-ups include transmission solutions firm Creatcomm Technology, AI company Kneron and smart module player Microduino.
Qualcomm, which is currently facing advances of a possible takeover by Broadcom, also announced components deals with three Chinese smartphone makers – Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo – valued at $12 billion earlier this month.