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Sore spot: Qualcomm goes after China

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cell phone? chip? Qualcomm? China?

Qualcomm has a bone to pick with China. The cell phone chip maker turned up the heat in its quarterly financial report Thursday, saying it believes phone makers in China are not reporting hundreds of millions in cell phone sales to avoid royalty payments. The news was part of the company's one sore spot as it reported another quarter of solid growth and upbeat guidance for its coming fiscal year.

Qualcomm believes 1.3 billion handsets were sold with its chips this year and 1.5 billion will be sold next year. But handset makers are on track only to report sales of 1.04 to 1.13 billion devices this year, leaving a gap of 170 to 260 million devices unreported, the company claimed.

Meanwhile the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) continues to investigate Qualcomm's business practices. (In related news: China's IC dream gets $1.5 billion backing)

"Certain licencees in China currently are not fully complying with their contractual obligations to report their sales of licensed products to us (which includes certain licencees underreporting a portion of their 3G/4G device sales and a dispute with a licencee)...[and] unlicensed companies may seek to delay execution of new licences while the NDRC investigation is ongoing," Qualcomm said in a statement.

Qualcomm has long made a significant share of its revenues in patent licensing, a fact that has drawn it into numerous patent disputes but none with a party as powerful as the China government. Time will tell whether its strategy to air charges of significant non-compliance among China's mobile OEMs will help resolve the dispute.

Meanwhile, the company continues on a steady growth path despite the dispute. Sales for the next quarter and the next fiscal year could be up as much as 9 per cent, Qualcomm said.

Chip set sales next quarter are expected to be up 17 per cent to 27 per cent next quarter, implying a decline in average selling prices. For the next fiscal year, Qualcomm expects chip set sales up 1 per cent to 11 per cent, implying the ASP declines will level out.

Qualcomm expects earnings per share for the coming fiscal year could be up 3 per cent to 12 per cent.

The guidance for the coming quarter and fiscal year "does not include sales that we believe may not be reported to us or may be in dispute but does include an estimate for some prior period activity that may be reported to us during fiscal 2015," Qualcomm said. "We are taking steps to address these issues, although the outcome and timing of any resolutions are uncertain."

The guidance also did not take into account details of its pending acquisition of CSR.

The company reported revenues of $6.69 billion and net income of 1.89 billion for its latest quarter in which it sold 213 million of its MSM chip sets. The numbers fell well within Qualcomm's guidance.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm forecasts significant growth for its coming fiscal year (above) and solid results in its past one (below).

Qualcomm

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times





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