News broke today that Dobot (越疆科技), a Shenzhen-based collaborative robot (cobot) company, had inked a pre-listing tutoring agreement with China International Capital Corporation on January 18 of this year.
This move came hot on the heels of a similar agreement that Jaka (节卡机器人), another Chinese cobot developer, signed on December 19, 2022 with Guotai Junan, a major securities brokerage firm, in its bid to list on China’s A-share market.
According to China’s securities rules, firms filing for an IPO on the main board are required to go through a set of procedures, starting with pre-listing tutoring by a sponsor, usually a brokerage firm, to receive proper training and supervision three to 12 months ahead of compiling and submitting the prospectus to the securities regulator.
Dobot, founded in 2015, is an intelligent cobot solution provider that has released SCARA cobot arm M1 Pro, industry-grade desktop robotic arm MG400 and CR Series robotic arms, among other lightweight cobot products.
According to media reports, Dobot stands out for the percentage of homegrown components and technologies used in its product mix, with more than 90% of them already being produced or sourced at home.
The company claims to be the first within the industry to boast a product matrix with payloads ranging from 0.5 to 16 kilograms. It topped the list as China’s largest exporter of indigenous-made industrial robots for four consecutive years (2018-2021) and has shipped to 140 countries and areas across the world.
To date, Dobot’s products have been applied at scale in industries such as 3C (computer, communication and consumer electronics), auto parts, new energy, semiconductor, metal processing and healthcare. Among its clients are Fortune 500 companies including Foxconn, BYD, Foton, Toyota, Sony, Samsung, Jabil and Johnson Controls, the company says on its website.
Dobot has built a strong presence throughout the industrial chain, from the underlying architecture to the upper layer of application. This is exemplified by a host of self-developed core parts in its control system, motor driving system and servo system, breakthroughs in motion control algorithms and proprietary innovations in computer vision, force feedback and audio technology, according to Dobot.
Since its inception, it has filed a cumulative 1,200 patents related to robotics.
Dobot counts among its investors Docin Capital, Entertainment Works, Shenzhen Capital Group, Qianhai FoF, CICC Capital, CRRC Capital, Wen’s Investment, China Merchants Venture, V Fund and Scheme Capital.
Nonetheless, the company faces stiff competition from the likes of Jaka, another IPO applicant, which has accumulated a large number of use cases in applications including moving, palletizing, machining, industrial testing, gluing, screw driving, polishing and welding.
Up till now, Jaka has pulled funds from well-known investors such as Hejun Capital, FG Venture, SAIF Partners, CPE Fund, SDIC, Temasek, True Light, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Aramco’s Prosperity7 Ventures.
Jaka completed its Series C and C+ financing rounds in 2021, with Series C alone setting an industrial record at upwards of 300 million yuan (US$44 billion). It bagged close to 1 billion yuan in a Series D round in July 2022, making Jaka the startup with the most funding rounds and the largest sums of financing in China’s cobot sector.