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Defies Meltdown with $20m solar play

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What does Intel's investment arm look like waving off the current economic gloom? A bit like it does when making new "cleantech" investments in China, laying down $20m funding for the solar energy kit provider, Trony Solar Holdings.

In fact, Intel Capital seems to plan on spending its way out of the financial meltdown.

"The world economy is in a very difficult position, but innovation is the way to help the companies out of financial crisis," said Cadol Cheung, managing director of Intel Capital in Asia Pacific told reporters. "Intel Capital is still committed to investing in innovative companies."

Shenzhen-based Trony makes solar curtain walls, power generation systems, solar cells, and other pieces of Sun-harvesting equipment. The firm plans to use the $20m to increase its production capacity to 105 megawatts in early 2009. It's currently capable of 35MW.

Intel Capital also agreed to invest in NP Holdings Limited – also headquartered in Shenzhen. NP Holdings makes massive electricity storage systems for renewable energy.

"These investments demonstrate Intel Capital's ongoing commitment to investing around the globe and its strategic focus on cleantech," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital. "Clean technologies are transforming our world and the landscape of entrepreneurship."

Intel's third investment divulged today doesn't actually go with the "cleantech" theme, but it's in the same country. We'll give them half credit.

It also inked to fund Viewhigh, a software and service provider for China's health care industry. The company makes business management wares for hospitals and other health care institutions. We suppose high density graveyards make waste of many flowers – so there's your environmental angle.

Financial terms of Intel's investments in NP Holdings and Viewhigh were not disclosed.

Intel Capital said it's $500m second round of the China Technology Fund created in April has seen no visible slowdown in investments due to the global financial crisis, according to a report from Reuters.

Chipzilla's venture wing said it prefers to see investments from a 10-year outlook rather focusing on immediate economic concerns. About a third of it's total investments are located in Asia. ®

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