Chinese internet behemoth Tencent Holdings has invested over $820 million in its series C round of investment in Humanoid robot making company Ubtech Robotics. The investment valued the company at $5 billion. The round also saw participation from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Minsheng Securities, Australian telecommunications and media firm Telstra Corporation, Chinese consumer electronics firm Haier Group, Green Pine Capital Partners, CreditEase, existing investor CDH Investments, among others.
The newly secured funds will go towards research and development, market, brand expansion and talent acquisition, according to the company’s announcement. For research and development the company is planning to increase its spend in large size humanoid robots and further invest in motion control and other algorithms.
As a part of the investment Tencent will now work closely with Ubtech on its product development. Further, Tencent along with Ubtech took its first step by launching personalised educational robot ‘Alpha Ebot’ in February this year. Also, Qrobot Alpha, the first robot to feature Tencent’s cloud services.
The robotics firm further claims it to be one of the biggest funding rounds for an AI-enabled company. Founded in 2012 by Zhou Jian, Ubtech Robotics is a high-tech company engaging in the R&D, manufacture, as well as promoting and popularizing robots around the world. They claim to be the first company in China dedicated to commercialize humanoid robot.
The company mainly manufactures consumer centric humanoid robots for entertainment and educational purposes. It has also initiated various projects including consumer bots of Alpha series, Star Wars’ first Stormtrooper, cloud based humanoid service Cruzr, and many others.
Ubtech is operating worldwide and claims to have shipped its product to over 40 countries including China, North America, Europe Southeast Asia and holds over 7,000 retail outlets around the globe.
According to Crunchbase, the company has raised a total of $1.3 billion since its inception, raising over $400 million last November in a round from Tencent. While in 2016, they raised over $100 million in a round led by CDH investments, the investors of Qihoo360 technologies.