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Qualcomm to pump W100b into Korean tech start-ups

Qualcomm, the U.S. chipmaker, said Wednesday it would invest up to 100 billion won ($90 million) in Korean technology start-ups in a move to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the Korean economy.

The announcement was made when executive chairman Paul Jacobs visited Korea this week to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary and 25 years of strong relations with Korea.

The company said it intends to expand its involvement in the Korean start-up scene with both direct and indirect investments.

Of the new investment, Qualcomm teamed up with Growth Ladder Fund, a fund raised by financial corporations under the Korean government’s start-up support plan, to create a new 50 billion won fund by the end of the year. 

Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs (right) and Kim Young-deok, chairman of the advisory committee for the Growth Ladder Fund, shake hands after signing an MOU on supporting Korean start-ups in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Qualcomm Korea)
Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs (right) and Kim Young-deok, chairman of the advisory committee for the Growth Ladder Fund, shake hands after signing an MOU on supporting Korean start-ups in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Qualcomm Korea)

The company also plans to invest in several funds dedicated to fostering the mobile ecosystem in the country.

“Korea is a vibrant country with a community of ambitious and talented entrepreneurs, and we will enable their visions with our partnerships, our technologies and our funds,” said the Qualcomm chief.

Qualcomm has a history of investments in Korea. Over the past four years, Qualcomm has made 12 investments across various sectors including components, enterprise software, mobile applications and services, and gaming.

Recently, Qualcomm’s investments in the region have accelerated, with Qualcomm Ventures investing almost 10 billion won in three companies -― Dunamu, a mobile-first security, social-trading platform; Job Planet, a company review and job placement service; and MangoPlate, a big-data-driven, personalized restaurant recommendation service -― during the first half of 2015 alone.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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