Beijing will set up a 10 billion (US$1.37 billion) specialized fund to support the Chinese capital’s emerging robotic industry, the city’s top economic and tech planners announced yesterday.
According to 16 guidelines published by Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, the city will allocate the funds to support the innovation and commercialization of technological breakthroughs, and M&A activity of robotic firms operating in the city.
Measures outlined in the guidelines are aimed at encouraging the overall development of the city’s robotic industry and application.
The first close of the 10-billion-yuan fund will be no less than 2 billion yuan.
To speed up the process for firms to secure financing, the city will reward eligible firms.
What’s more, it will create a green corridor to fast-track the bids of leading robotic companies to list on the Beijing Stock Exchange (BSE).
Break technological bottlenecks
City authorities released the measures on the sidelines of the ongoing 2023 World Robot Conference, scheduled to run through August 22.
Together with the guidelines, Beijing also published a list of core technological bottlenecks, comprising robot operating system (ROS), high-performance chip and servo motor, gear reducer, controller, sensor, AI and multi-modal large language model (LLM).
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Companies that make strides in these segments are eligible for financial rewards.
To encourage collaboration between businesses to tackle these issues, Beijing also plans to offer a cash bonus of up to 30 million yuan depending on the sums of technological R&D.
China is a poster child in the efficacy of its industrial policy. The new energy vehicle and photovoltaic sectors have been among the most notable beneficiaries of targeted policy incentives.
This time around, Beijing also eyes the opportunity to build robotic industrial clusters, banking on the synergies to be unleashed.
Faster approval and reimbursement
To help companies settle down in the city, Beijing will accelerate the pace of administrative screening of their application to lease land for R&D and production purposes.
For qualified robotic companies that build and own facilities, the city will reimburse part of their fixed-asset investment as per current policies.
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While the notion of robots making robots was laughed off as a fancy concept years ago, it has become a reality today.
To mirror that reality, Beijing said it will compensate firms with a proven track record of automating the production of robots. The rates vary but are capped at 30% of their upfront investment, with a maximum 30 million yuan.
Sitting at the heart of one of China’s three major city clusters, Beijing has set sights on growing its robotic space in sync with neighboring Tianjin and Hebei Province.
Businesses that sign up for an official drive to form supply chains and meet official criteria will be repaid no more than 5% of their order fulfilment value, or no more than 30 million yuan.
Going forward, Beijing economic planners will work more closely with counterparts in Tianjin and Hebei to bolster their capacity in robotic parts manufacturing, assembly and maintenance services.