With the semiconductor market on the ropes, Intel is doing all it can to stay relevant - financially and globally.
To that end, today's news that Intel has "doubled down" on China by rolling out its second venture fund in the burgeoning Far East Tiger. The fund, to be called the Intel Capital China Technology Fund II, or as cynical Wall Street traders are calling it "Son of Intel Capital China Technology Fund".
The $500 million will target investments in funding start-ups in booming Chinese markets like wireless broadband, media, telecommunications, and clean-and-green technologies. Already two fledgling companies are in the Intel II mix - Holdfast Online Technology and Newauto Video Technology.
"Given the success of the original China Fund--with investments in more than 28 companies--it is time to renew our commitment," says Cadol Cheung, Intel Capital Asia Pacific managing director.
According to an Intel press statement, Holdfast hosts third-party console games that allow gamers to compete against each other over a wide area network, while Newauto develops and markets video equipment, networking software, and system integrations for Chinese TV stations.
The original Intel China Technology Fund, opened in 2005, has funded 28 companies doing business in China. But it only had $200 million in fund assets so "Son of China Intel" has much larger aspirations.
Intel has had a decent week, even without the new China venture. Traders are still buzzing about Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s news that it would post disappointing first-quarter sales on Tuesday, partly from a lousy semiconductor market and partly because of what one Intel insider called "heavy competition" from Intel.
The news rocked the semiconductor market, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index off nearly seven points in Tuesday trading. So far, Intel has escaped the bad reviews from analysts worried about AMD's product delays, technology glitches, and missed earnings goals.
The new China fund should insulate Intel even further from the ongoing woes in the semiconductor market.