Chinese regulator urges Qualcomm to help local companies make money

Qualcomm is facing an antitrust probe in China for allegedly overcharging clients

Qualcomm is being urged by a top Chinese regulator to make money in the country in tandem with its local partners.

On Wednesday, Lu Wei, the head of China's State Internet Information Office, weighed in on the country's anti-monopoly investigation into Qualcomm. He was speaking at a panel during a World Economic Forum event in Tianjin, China, where Qualcomm's executive chairman Paul Jacobs was also among the speakers.

"First, I want to congratulate you," Lu told Jacobs at the panel, which was also webcast. He pointed to how Qualcomm made US$24 billion in revenue during the company's last fiscal year, with nearly half of it from China.

"This means China is a good place to make money," he added. "Secondly, I want to tell you, we should make money together. You should work alongside Chinese companies to make money."

China's National Reform and Development Commission has been investigating Qualcomm since last November, on industry complaints that the company has been overcharging Chinese clients to use its patents.

Qualcomm said back in July that the company had 70 Chinese vendors using its 4G LTE patents, and another 120 vendors for its 3G CDMA patents.

In response to Lu's statements, Jacobs said at the panel the U.S. company has been helping Chinese companies to deliver new products to the market. This includes working with over 90 Chinese companies to build devices.

"I feel like it has been a win-win between Qualcomm and Chinese companies, Chinese customers and I hope that continues far into the future," Jacobs said.

Qualcomm hasn't been the only foreign company under Chinese investigation. The country has also opened antitrust probes against Microsoft and foreign car makers in recent months.

Lu, who oversees China's Internet regulations, said the country has been open in its policies, but also demanded that Internet firms follow the local laws.

"What we cannot allow is the seizing of the market, the making of money from China, that also damages China," he said.

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Michael Kan

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