Insight
Capital flows into robot industry
Last Updated: 2016-11-14 10:31 | CE.cn
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By Du Fang

In the present "Capital Winter", robot industry becomes a new investment hot land. "In terms of capital, the fields of artificial intelligence and robot are the micro spring in the broad environment." Zhou Mi, the partner of Puhua Capital, said on 2016 World Robot Conference.

Financial capital entering into the field rapidly

Recently, a large amount of capital has flooded into the robot field, the number of public companies involved with intelligent manufacturing and robot industry is increasing rapidly, and the development patterns are diversified day by day, which are powerful driving forces for the industry's development

"In the past few months, China's robot industry has seen several typical cases of cross-border M&A. In April, Zhejiang Wanfeng Technology Development CO., Ltd. merged the Paslin Company, the service provider for American welding robots' application system, becoming the leader of global welding robots integration system; in May, the Midea Group merged Kuka, the global leading robot and intelligent automation solution company, making it rapidly become the pioneer of the domestic robot service industry. And it is also the biggest cross-border merger and acquisition in Chinese robot industry; in June, Agic Capital merged Italian Gimatic, which is the supplier for front-end equipments of mechanical arms. With the swift development of robot industry, the capital is accessing into the industry rapidly," said Qu Guoyi, chairman of Beijing Ted Fund Management Group.

This is a good thing for the development of robot industry. Ye Tianchun, director of Institute of Microelectronics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, thinks that the development of robot industry can't do without the integration of three chains: Technology chain, industry chain and financial chain. "It is said that robots are on the edge, and whether they will fly high or fall down is depended on the following two key points: core technology and a good business pattern can add wings to the development of robots; whether there is financial capital -- the wind that could mobilize the development of robots."

With the implementation of "Made in China 2025" Strategy, the multiple performances of capital market are becoming intriguing. Li Xiaoxue, vice president of China Association for Public Companies, finds that the number of public companies involved with intelligent manufacturing and robot industry has increased rapidly, and they have formed the important industry groups; Robot industry's investment and merger fund that is founded and participated by public companies is accruing step by step; The number of abroad advanced technologies and enterprises merged by domestic public companies is in steady growth. Under the guidance and support of local government, public companies are establishing robot industrial parks one after another, which is forming the industrial agglomeration effect.

At the same time, the development patterns of public companies involved with robot industry are increasingly diversified, and there are robot companies just like Siasun, which growing quickly based on self-dependent innovation, also there are non-robot enterprises which merge mature robot enterprises from both domestic and abroad. It forms a situation of parallel development of the double main industries. Besides, there are non-robot enterprises have merged middle and small-sized robot enterprises and technologies, promoting the transformation and upgrading of the traditional industry through the platform of public companies. "These patterns have no strengths and weaknesses in themselves, and they play such good demonstration roles in improving the industry's core competence," said Li Xiaoxue.

Li Xiaoxue expresses that according to the phenomenon and data, the capital market can bring the advantages of capital, brands and channels to public companies, guiding public companies allocate resources reasonably, seizing the upland of high-end equipment manufacturing industry. This kind of pattern has been well verified in the robot industry.

Industry's innovation and development speeding up

In the areas related to robot, public companies are accelerating the incubation of high-tech industry' growth by making use of capital market, increasing the research and development investment, as well as continuously strengthening the innovative impetus.

"China Association for Public Companies will continue supporting relevant enterprises to implement innovation driven strategy by utilizing capital market. On the one hand, it encourages enterprises to merge overseas mature technologies through merger and acquisition channels, on the other hand, it encourages enterprises to increase the investment on research and development by themselves, that is independent research and development," said Li Xiaoxue.

Beijing E-town International Industrial Investment Management Co., Ltd. is one of the five entrusted investment management agencies whose capital is unified management at municipal level. Its E-town mother fund system is comprehensive and has complete procedures, and it participates in various high-end industrial projects such as integrated circuit, equipment manufacturing, aerospace science and technology, etc. In recent years, this mother fund also has a good layout in robot field.

"We have invested more than 50 funds and these funds formed an enormous asset portfolio and the favorable ecosphere, linking enterprises from different industrial sectors to combine them together with the drive of capital, and further promoting the industry's development." Said by Tang Xuefeng, who is the President of Beijing E-town International Industrial Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Evading investment risks effectively

Homogenization and cutthroat competition will kill the enthusiasm of technical innovation. The innovative development in any high-end field, should combine differences between resources and factor endowments, to make sure of scientific planning and innovative layout

"It is a good thing that currently capital market is focus on robot industry, but a further grasp of the concept and trend of technical innovation is still needed." Ye Tianchun said, "For example, in current market, it springs up a lot of unmanned aerial vehicle companies, however, some of them are just pursuing the concept which could only be called model airplanes not authentic unmanned aerial vehicles. The speculation phenomenon should be prohibited."

As for those robot projects and enterprises who are actively seeking for investments, the partner of Liangqiao Investment Company Liu Guoqing gives his suggestions: "The industry is hot enough; however, there are scarce successful cases. Entrepreneurs should get close to application clients and do the specific application in particular scenario."

As for capital, it also should calmly treat the popularity of robot industry. Vice President Bai Xianglin from HIT Robot Group expresses that robot industry needs to settle down, and there are certain gaps between domestic and abroad robot industry. Capital should get growth along with the development of the industry.

Tang Xuefeng thinks one should make investment with the industry thinking "Giving time to each industry, and it will provide gains. Mother fund is commendable tools and capital is aggregated through them, to reduce investment risks by professional investment actions."

When it's specific to robot industry, Li Xiaoxue thinks that at the national level, it should guide innovative resources to flow and assemble orderly. At the enterprise level, it should choose the suitable innovation paths, based on the ecological layout. Only by establishing industrial ecosystem of different sizes, well proportion and interwork, could it realize innovative linkage to promote industrial development jointly.

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