SHANGHAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - China's Tsinghua Holdings plans to invest at least 30 billion yuan ($4.74 billion) in developing mobile chip technology to challenge industry leader Qualcomm Inc's market dominance, the China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"To catch up with Qualcomm as soon as possible, we will pour 30 billion yuan, and probably even more, into the research and development of mobile chips in the next few years," Chairman Xu Jinghong was quoted as saying in an interview.
A Tsinghua Holdings spokeswoman confirmed Xu's comments to the newspaper.
Tsinghua Holdings, which is backed by Tsinghua University in Beijing, has emerged as a champion of Chinese technology in recent years as the country tries to shed its reliance on foreign industrial science.
Its private equity subsidiary, Tsinghua Unigroup, is in talks to buy U.S. chipmaker Micro Technology Inc for $23 billion in what could be the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company.
Xu said in the interview that a certain proportion of the 30 billion yuan sum would come from government funding and its partners. Tsinghua Unigroup in February said it had received 10 billion yuan from the government to invest in chip companies.
"Frankly, compared with global competitors, we are still three-to-five years behind in technology, especially in cutting-edge 4G and 5G products," he said. "But if we don't close the technology gap, we will never win." ($1 = 6.3232 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates)