Tech firm Imagination Technologies has appointed a new boss months after being taken over by a US private equity firm.

The chip designer and supplier of semiconductor intellectual property (IPO) says the appointment of Dr Leo Li will support its strategy of expanding into China and bridging the gap between the US, Europe and Asia.

Imagination was acquired by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners late last year.

The group decided to put itself up for sale after Apple, its largest customer, said it would stop using Imagination's technology in its devices within two years.

Dr Li is chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance and a well-known figure in the semiconductor industry.  He has over 30 years of semiconductor experience most recently as chairman, CEO and president of Spreadtrum Communications and chairman of RDA before becoming co-president at Tsinghua Unigroup. 

He said: "I have paid close attention to Imagination over the years. We have a strong strategy today to evolve the company to the next level of success by capitalising on the opportunities in other markets, particularly China, one of the largest semiconductor markets in the world.

"We will have a renewed focus on technology innovation through strengthening our R&D capabilities, making Imagination a clear global technology leader again, and bringing value to our customers."

Dr Li replaces Andrew Heath, who has led Imagination as CEO since February 2016 and was responsible for first returning the company to profitability and then brokering the sale of the company to Canyon Bridge.

Ray Bingham, founding partner at Canyon Bridge and executive chairman at Imagination, said: "Andrew has done a great job as CEO of Imagination through a challenging period. He is leaving the company with a strong roadmap and sales pipeline and with excellent partnerships around the world, especially in Asia We thank him for his invaluable contribution over the last two years.

"With his extensive experience in both the global semiconductor industry and China, Leo will lead Imagination on the next phase of its journey as a world-leading independent IP supplier. He will deliver leadership for its graphics and connectivity customers, continued growth and our new vision in AI technologies."