Tag Archives: China

Star Wars robot-maker Ubtech raises $400 million at unicorn valuation 

Commentary

Shenzhen-based Ubtech scored the biggest funding round last week. It raised a $400 million Series C round led by tech giant Tencent at a $4 billion to a $5 billion valuation.  But the unicorn robotics company isn’t geared for industrial automation.  Instead, it’s driven to create humanoid robots to the consumer market.  Since 2012, Ubtech has developed consumer robotic products like the Alpha family entertainment robot series and Jimu educational robot kits. Ubtech’s latest creation is a Star Wars Stormtrooper Robot, which is equipped with voice command and facial recognition features. The company has also helped building Amazon’s intelligent robot Lynx. According to International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the household robotic market is projected to grow to $22.4 billion in 2019. 

Xingbianli raises $57 million for its checkout-free retail platform

Commentary

China’s retail landscape is taking a new face with checkout-free stores like Bingobox, Xiaomai, and F5 Stores having brought in more than $55 million capital since the start of 2017. Last week, Shanghai-based Xingbianli raised $57 million in Series A round following its $14 million angel funding just last September.  But what sets Xingbianli apart to lead the competition is its targeted marketing combined with urbanized coverage. Currently, it runs eight checkout-free convenience stores and over 10,000 unmanned snack bars deployed in offices, including Internet companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Ctrip, which are situated across 15 cities in China. Xingbianli’s retail platform which allows customers to shop with a QR account code and payment options via Alipay and WeChat Pay is also well supported by the team’s solid competencies in supply chain and big data. The advanced shopping technology is something investors are banking on in China’s new retail sector which generated revenues of $23 billion in 2016 alone.

China’s Tsinghua Unigroup snags $22 billion

Commentary

China is now taking an ambitious step towards becoming the world’s leading chipmaker. Last week, Tsinghua Unigroup, China’s top chip manufacturer, has amassed a staggering $22 billion of financing from China Development Bank. According to reports, the funds will be used for acquisitions as well as building a world-class conductor industry. Long been accused of grabbing global market shares in many industries, China’s rapidly growing semiconductor industry could pose a threat to American and Japanese chipmakers. According to Gartner, China will be a promising market for semiconductor investments starting this year as state-held companies (like Tsinghua Unigroup) aim to become strong players in the global semiconductor market.

Poly Group invests $400 million in Didi Chuxing 

Commentary

Competition in the ride-hailing industry heats up as Didi Chuxing, Uber’s main rival in China, raised $400 million from Poly Group. Poly Group is one of China’s state-owned trading and real-estate conglomerates. This latest fundraising leaves Didi with a valuation of around $27.6 billion. Didi Chuxing, formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, dominates the Chinese ride-hailing market at more than 14 million rides per day. In addition to the equity fundraising, China Merchants Bank recently led a syndicated loan of $2.5 billion and China Life Insurance lent $300 million in long-term debt to Didi Chuxing. The company now has more than $10 billion in disposable funds which it intends to use to ramp up its competition with Uber.