China: Tencent Holdings leads $400m Series C in Ubtech Robotics

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Chinese technology major Tencent Holdings is leading a $400-million Series C investment in Shenzhen-headquartered humanoid robot maker Ubtech Robotics.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the development, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has been raising the funding for the last six months, with the round yet to be closed and financial commitments finalised.

Founded in 2012, Ubtech mainly develops small humanoid robots for entertainment and educational purposes as well as STEM education robots.

The investment will see the robotics firm, already a unicorn, gain a post-money valuation of between $4 billion and $5 billion. In an interview with the China Money Network, its founder James Zhou had disclosed that it was raising a new round at a $5 billion valuation.

It had last raised a $100-million Series B round in July 2016 led by CDH Investments. That round, backed by CITIC Securities and other investors, saw the company valued at $1 billion.

Ubtech had raised a $20 million Series A+ round from Qiming Venture Partners in 2015. It had also secured an undisclosed amount of strategic investments from Chinese voice recognition software maker Anhui USTC iFlytek Co. at the end of 2016. According to data compiled by Crunchbase, Ubtech has raised aggregate equity funding of $520 million to date.

Neither Ubtech nor Tencent has issued public comments on this transaction, which comes at a time when Chinese enterprises are raising funds and heavily investing in research and development into AI systems aimed at enhancing robots, autonomous cars and leveraging on artificial intelligence to serve its ageing society.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.