Robot Giant UBTech Is Said to List on A-Share Market
COVID-19 and China
UBTech's humanoid robot Walker participated in the performance of CCTV's annual Spring Festival Gala. Photo: Credit to UBTech.

UBTech Robotics is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the A-share market, people familiar with the matter said, completing its prospectus that is ready to submit to the Stock Exchange.

The company is working with CICC on the prospectus and the share sale, said the people at UBTech, asking not to be identified as the information is private. UBTech’s chief brand manager Michael Tam disclosed that the robot tech company inclined to raise money in the mainland markets. He didn’t claim on which board the company prepared to be listed on.

UBTech – a Chinese humanoid service robots developer kindred to Boston Dynamics – was said to apply for an IPO on the STAR board at the beginning of this year, according to another person. The tech giant’s choice will be a rare coup for China’s markets, which have struggled to attract large tech listings, reported by Financial Times.

Founded in 2012, UBTech develops robot products for multiple uses of public service, education, entertainment and security. UBTech’s service robot Cruzr was employed in more than 2000 Easyhome’s retail store in H1 2018, which was thought of the greatest scale of service robot landing, claimed by the company. The main function of this gadget is to provide shopping guidance to customers by speaking and displaying on the screen. Brick-and-mortar stores can be benefited by this attractive and interesting function in terms of customer engagement.

In STEAM education, the robot player offers a programmable robot JIMU and teaching software to nurture children’s ability of coding. The company cooperated with the Chongqing government to build AI classrooms for local high schools, acquiring a business order with the amount of hundreds of millions of yuan, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn't public.

UBTech has a highly competitive barrier in servo, an important gear for the robot’s motion. The company’s humanoid robot Walker has 36 servos manipulated by the motion control algorithm developed by itself. Walkers ranks the third globally among all the humanoid robots in terms of moving ability, following Robotic Dynamics and Asimo (developed by Honda), said Pang Jianxin (庞建新), director of UBTech’s research department.

Eight rounds of funding have driven UBTech’s valuation to USD 10 billion after its Series C + round of financing announced in March, said Zhou Jian (周剑), founder of the company. Many reputable banks, tech companies and investment institutes participating in the capital game, including ICBC, CMBC, Tencent, iFLYTECH, Haier, CreditEase, Telstra, Easyhome and so on.

Such high valuation probably brings a great burden to the company as it has to improve its standout commercialization ability. However, the service robot hasn’t become a popular product yet.

UBTech’s revenue surpassed RMB 1 billion (USD 145 million) in 2017, and this number is expected to reach RMB 6 billion (USD 871 million) in 2019, said Zhou Jian.

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