Qualcomm was hit by a near $1 billion fine for violating China’s antitrust regulations in 2015. That was rock bottom — and another example of a U.S. tech firm coming unstuck in China — but the chip-maker spent 2016 steadily sewing up licensing significant agreements, the latest being a deal with Meizu announced on December 31.
Meizu is one of China’s prominent phone makers — its affordable devices compete with those from Xiaomi and others. It claimed over 20 million sales in 2015 and, though it ran into some issues and made layoffs last year, it counts Alibaba among its investors.
Back in June, Qualcomm filed a patent infringement suit against Meizu alleging that it had spent more than a year negotiating with the company regarding its use of certain 3G and 4G standards. Now, however, Qualcomm has granted Meizu a license over the patents in question after the duo reached an agreement. Qualcomm has, in turn, dropped its legal cases against Meizu in China, Germany, France, and the U.S..
The Meizu alliance follows deals with Vivo and Oppo, the word’s fourth and fifth-largest smartphone sellers and the top two in China, as well as deals with Hisense, Yulong and Lenovo. All told, Qualcomm said it has licenses with more than 100 partners in China.
Unsurprisingly, given the size of China’s mobile market, these deals are hugely important to Qualcomm. The firm said new licensing deals from China were a key driver of its impressive Q4 financial results, which saw net income rise 51 percent year-on-year to reach $1.6 billion.