File photo of a person trying a Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood, Oct. 20, 2016, in New York City. (Platt/Getty Images)

Tech giant Google said, Sept. 21, it has signed an agreement with HTC to buy part of the Taiwanese company’s smartphone business for USD 1.1 billion.

The deal includes HTC employees who worked on Google’s Pixel smartphone and intellectual property rights, the two companies said in a statement, without disclosing the number of staff involved.

“HTC will receive $1.1 billion in cash from Google as part of the transaction. Separately, Google will receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property (IP),” the statement said.

This agreement will help HTC to focus on enabling a more streamlined product portfolio, greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility.

“In addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family,” it said.

The agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub.

Cher Wang, the Chairwoman and CEO of HTC, said the agreement will enable Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within HTC’s smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses.

“We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services,” she added.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by early 2018.

HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market, Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google said.

Both Google and HTC have significant presence in the country.