Shenzhen-based artificial intelligence and humanoid robotic company UBTECH Robotics (优必选) is nearly closing its newest Series C+ round of funding, which will value the company at USD 10 billion, making it the most valued AI startups in the world, according to Chinese technology media All Weather TMT, citing the company’s co-founder and CEO ZHOU Jian (周剑).
“The fund of Series C+ will be in place soon, and we will announce it in appropriate time,” says Zhou Jian. “The new funding round will value UBTECH at USD 10 billion.”
If true, this will make UBTECH the most valued AI startup in the world. The world’s current most valued AI startup is another Chinese company SenseTime, with a valuation of USD 6 billion.
UBTECH was founded in 2012, widely known as a consumer robotics maker. The company also focuses on developing AI software platform. Its products include the humanoid robot Alpha, educational coding robot Jimu, and the cloud-based business service robot Cruzr.
UBTECH’s latest Series C funding round led by Tecent in May 2018, injected USD 820 million into the company, valuing it at USD 5 billion.
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In the company’s last annual press conference hold in September 2018, Zhou Jian indicated that his company was preparing for a new round of financing, and the company’s valuation will reach USD 30 billion in 3 years.
“We have been preparing for a new series of fundraising from the middle of 2017, and we closed Series C funding in May 2018, which valued the company at USD 5 billion,” says Zhou Jian. “But now the capital market is more cautious now, money will more concentrate on top AI companies, so the situation might be very unfavorable for startups that don't have core technologies.”
Zhou Jian also indicates that UBTECH has been planning for an initial public offering, but he doesn’t provide any further details. Analysts widely consider that the company will go public at the planned science and technology innovation board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, a new board that will be established in the first half of 2019, adopting a loosely-regulated mechanism for initial public offerings, potentially competing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, or even the New York Stock Exchange, where Chinese technology startups tended to be listed.