China-US Economic Ties

US Backers Like Intel, Qualcomm ‘Poured Billions’ Into China AI


US investors poured billions of dollars into China’s artificial intelligence (AI) companies between 2015 and 2021, including some that were sanctioned by the US government, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Backers from the United States, which included the investment arms of Intel and Qualcomm, accounted for nearly a fifth of investments in the China AI sector.

The report, released by CSET, a tech policy group at Georgetown University, comes amid growing scrutiny of US investments in AI, quantum computing and semiconductors. It is based on information from data provider Crunchbase.


Also on AF: India, US Partner on Chips, AI and Arms to Take on China


167 investors from the US took part in 401 transactions, the report said. They made up for 17% of the investments into Chinese AI companies in the period.

Those transactions represented a total $40.2 billion in investment, the report said. That would account for 37% of the total raised by Chinese AI companies in the six-year period.

It was not clear from the report what percentage of the funding came from Intel or Qualcomm.

Qualcomm Ventures and Intel Capital were involved in 13 and 11 investments in Chinese AI companies respectively. GGV Capital led investments by US firms in the sector.


Investments in sanctioned AI firms

US investor GSR Ventures invested alongside China’s IFlytek in a Chinese AI company after the speech recognition firm was added to a trade blacklist, the report showed.

Silicon Valley Bank and Wanxiang American Healthcare investments group made investments in Chinese AI firms alongside China’s Sensetime before the facial recognition technology powerhouse was added to the same trade blacklist.

The US added both companies to its ‘Entity List‘ in 2019 for alleged human rights violations of Uighur Muslims. That effectively barred them from receiving US tech exports.

Some of the largest investments include Goldman Sachs’ solo investment in 1KMXC, an AI-enabled robotics company. Another was an investment by three US-based VC firms in Geek+, an autonomous mobile robot company, the report showed.

Only one Chinese AI company that received funding from US investors is involved in developing AI applications for military or public safety uses, according to CSET.

The Biden administration plans to unveil an executive order this year to curb some US investments in sensitive Chinese tech industries.

Hawks in Washington blame American investors for transferring capital and valuable know-how to Chinese tech companies. It could help advance Beijing’s military capabilities, they say.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

US Blocking Export of 4G Chips, Items for China’s Huawei

China’s AI Programme is a Worry: FBI Chief – Independent

Japan, Netherlands to Join US in Enforcing China Chip Curbs

US Sanctions China Firm For Aiding Wagner Fighters in Ukraine



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has been working as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As an eager stock market trader and investor, she is keenly interested in economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can tweet to her @saxenavishakha

Recent Posts

Nvidia Will Rent AI Computing Power to China – Yicai Global

Analysts say supercomputing power is the major obstacle holding back China's ChatGPT-like bot developers

11 hours ago

US Adds 14 More Chinese ‘Entities’ to Unverified List

The move will force exporting US firms to conduct ‘greater due diligence’ before shipping goods…

11 hours ago

China’s Super Rich Suffer as Tech Crackdowns, Covid Costs Hit

China saw 229 of its billionaires drop off the Hurun Global Rich List with Jack…

12 hours ago

Vietnam’s VinFast Finally Rolls Out VF9 Electric SUV

The country’s sole EV maker is gearing up to expand into the United States, where…

15 hours ago

No Cheer for Evergrande’s Long-Awaited Dollar Debt Revamp Plan

The debt restructuring plan has not proven popular with Evergrande dollar bondholders, with one likening…

15 hours ago

China Firm Nabs Solomon Islands Port Deal as US Watches On

The port reconstruction deal, part of a $170-million project to upgrade roads and wharves in…

16 hours ago