Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp, announced on Tuesday three investments in Chinese companies, including its first moves into the nation’s clean technology sector.
Intel Capital invested $20 million in Trony Solar Holdings Co, a thin-film solar energy provider, and also took undisclosed stakes in electricity storage specialist NP Holdings Ltd, and Viewhigh, a healthcare software firm. Cadol Cheung, the firm’s Asia Pacific head, told reporters the new $500 million China technology fund that was established in April had invested in six mainland companies, adding he had not yet seen a slowdown in investment due to the global financial crisis. “We think innovation is the way to help companies out of this financial crisis,” said Cheung. “We have no plan of slowing down our investment pace.”
Intel Capital, which had a portfolio of $2.3 billion as of June 2008, had less than 5% of its portfolio invested outside the United States 10 years ago. That figure had grown to 37% by 2007. However, the investment company has seen more companies in its portfolio requesting additional funding to carry them through a rough patch as external financing channels dry up. “In this environment, companies will revert back to existing investors more, because it is more difficult to get external financing,” said Cheung. He did not provide any details.
Intel Corp provides all the capital for Intel Capital, allowing it to take a long-term view on investments, which can last as long as 10 years. About a third of Intel Capital’s total investment is located in Asia, with China, Taiwan and Korea taking up a big chunk.