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Qualcomm Still Unsure Why It Is Under Investigation In China

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Snapdragon manufacturer still hasn’t been told why it faces Chinese antitrust investigation

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs has said the US chipmaker has still has not been informed why it has been under antitrust scrutiny in China since late last year.

In an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jacobs, taking part in one of his last engagements before he is succeeded by current Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf in March, said he didn’t know why the company is still under investigation.

The company announced in November that China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had launched an antitrust probe against it, with a senior official at the Commission saying the regulator had “substantial evidence” against the chipmaker.

qualcomm snapdragon CES 2013Facing stiff competition

Qualcomm said it was unaware of any possible violations, and has handed over all requested documents to the NDRC. However, it is not unusual for authorities in various countries not to disclose reasons for their antitrust probes, Jacobs stated.

The investigation could be part of a move to support Chinese-based suppliers to compete with Qualcomm, which is the global leader in several key technology areas, including 4G connectivity, which China is rapidly moving towards. Organisations affiliated to the Chinese government have recently spent around $3 billion to purchase and build up local mobile chipmakers Spreadtrum Communications Inc. and RDA Microelectronics Inc., both of which have 4G technology that competes with Qualcomm’s.

Despite the investigation, Qualcomm has made a number of announcements at CES, although its presentations have been a bit of a come-down from last year’s event, where Jacobs presented a memorable opening keynote speech featuring Big Bird, electric cars and a running Steve Ballmer

The company’s main focus was promoting its Internet of Things ecosystem, announcing several new chipsets to support the growth of this sector, including the Snapdragon 602 for use in connected vehicles and the Snapdragon 802, which is targeted towards the next generation of smart TVs and 4K displays to bring UltraHD content to devices.

Snapdragon mobile processors have also powered several devices that have been announced since the beginning of CES, including the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, LG G Flex and the ZTE Grand S2.

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