Intel is investing up to $1.5 billion for a 20 per cent stake in Tsinghua Unigroup, which controls Chinese mobile silicon players Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics.

In a statement, Intel said that the purpose of the deal is “to expand the product offerings and adoption for Intel-based mobile devices in China and worldwide by jointly developing Intel Architecture and communications-based solutions for mobile phones”.

Spreadtrum and RDA are fabless semiconductor companies in China, which develop mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones, and other consumer electronics products. It works across 2G, 3G and 4G standards.

Fast-growing Spreadtrum offers a range of products targeting mobile devices based on ARM architectures, an alternative to Intel’s technology that is particularly popular in the mobile device space.

With China being “the largest consumption market for smartphones”, the agreement will “enhance our ability to support a wider range of mobile customers in China and the rest of the world by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions,” Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Intel announced a $100 million investment fund and set up a “Smart Device Innovation Center” in Shenzhen, China as part of an effort to boost its position in China’s “growing technology ecosystem”.