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Tsinghua Holdings to spend $10bn on chips, energy: chairman file -
Xu Jinghong

Xu Jinghong

Tsinghua Holdings Co. which has been gobbling up semiconductor and other tech companies around the world under Beijing’s campaign to make China an IT powerhouse, will spend $10 billion over the next five years to become a top player in chip-making, healthcare, and renewable energy sources, according to Xu Jinghong, chairman of the state-owned investment arm of China’s Tsinghua University. 

“We will also groom 500 startups over the next five years so that they are each worth 100 million yuan ($15.1 million). This will be led by the market, not the government,” he said on Wednesday during a session titled ‘Innovative China and the Contribution of Tsinghua to it’ at the 18th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. 

Xu is visiting South Korea to attend the WKF, an annual forum hosted by Korea’s largest business media Maekyung Media Group, which will be held until Thursday. 

Xu is the head of Tsinghua Holdings, a state-backed corporation established by China’s elite Tsinghua University in 2003. It holds over 2,000 firms and 14 listed companies under its umbrella, including the chipmaker Tsinghua Unigroup. It had 352.8 billion yuan in assets last year and ranked 163 on the 2017 China Top 500 Enterprises list. A former administrative director at Tsinghua University, Xu was also named one of China’s top 10 entrepreneurs this year. 

“We try to serve as the bridge between entrepreneurs and scientists so that they can create bigger synergies together by focusing on their respective fields,” Xu said in an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper. “Rather than forcibly applying research results into the market, it is important to understand the market and consumers first and use that knowledge to conduct better research.” 

Tsinghua Holdings is actively building up its capacity in electric vehicles and semiconductors. The company plans to strengthen collaboration with hundreds of researchers at the auto research center in Tsinghua University that is currently focusing on electric cars. Last year, Tsinghua Unigroup spent $24 billion to build a 3D NAND fab in Wuhan and has spurred efforts to acquire overseas semiconductor companies. 

The Chinese firm is also intent on incubating startups. It has invested in over 100 startups so far and plans to build more than 1,000 incubators in 100 cities around the world to create a breeding ground for future innovation.

By Han Woo-ram, Na Hyun-joon and Kim Hyo-jin


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