Qualcomm names old-hand as new China chairman; former head joins Xiaomi

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc said it has appointed old-hand Frank Meng as its chairman for China, a market which accounts for half of the company's overall revenues but where it has hit rough patches in recent times. Qualcomm also said Wang Xiang would leave his role as president of Greater China. Wang will head for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL], the Beijing-based five-year-old upstart, which was valued at $45 billion in December, announced in a separate statement. Qualcomm's shakeup comes after a long stretch of turbulence in China, the world's biggest smartphone market. After a 14-month Chinese government investigation into anti-competitive practices, the company agreed to pay a fine of $975 million, the largest in China's corporate history. That settlement also had Qualcomm lower its royalty rates on patents used in China. But the company's woes aren't over in the world's second-largest economy. In April, Qualcomm said it believed some of its licensees in China may not be fully reporting their sales of licensed products, undercutting revenues. Meng's appointment is effective June 15, the company said in a statement late on Wednesday. Meng has 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and was previously Qualcomm's president of Greater China from 2008 to 2010, it said. Before Meng's return, he was president of Chinese Internet data center provider 21Vianet Group Inc . "Frank's extensive industry experience and leadership will drive continued business growth and further strengthen our collaboration across the Chinese mobile ecosystem and semiconductor sector," Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm, said in the statement. Wang will become senior vice president of strategic cooperation at Xiaomi, the smartphone firm said. Wang had helped forge Xiaomi's relationship with Qualcomm, which both supplies chips to the smartphone maker and was an early investor. (Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)