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Intel to invest $1.5 billion in Chinese ARM partner

Spreadtrum-based smartphone
Spreadtrum powered the cheapest smartphone yet.

After Rockchip earlier this year, Intel has enlisted yet another Chinese fabless ARM partner to help it crack the Chinese market. This time though, there's money on the table. Big money.

Intel has commityed to invest RMB 9 billion ($1.47 billion, £0.9 billion, AU$1.66 billion) for roughly a fifth of the holding company under Tsinghua Unigroup which will own Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics.

Both entities develop solutions for smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronic devices specifically for the Chinese market, with a wide array of connectivity options (2G, 3G, 4G).

What's next for Intel?

Spreadtrum made the headlines back in February by partnering with Mozilla on a $25 Firefox OS smartphone and while it is not well known outside the Chiese market, it did sell 350 million system-on-chips in 2013, mostly to the Chinese market.

Intel and Spreadtrum will jointly create and sell a family of Intel Architecture-based system-on-chips (SoCs).

SoFIA, Intel's own family of integrated mobile SoC, was not mentioned in the press release but since the timeline mentions the second half of next year, highly likely that it will be the case.