HKEX hearing gives greenlight to UBTech’s IPO, making it ‘first humanoid robot stock’

Nonetheless, despite the bold claims about rising revenue and brightening commercial prospects, the company has been hemorrhaging money since its inception.

UBTech (优必选) has passed the pre-listing hearing by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today, a key step leading to its coveted IPO on the main board of the bourse.

Although media reports did not say when exactly the listing would take place, UBTech is well on its way to becoming the first humanoid robot developer worldwide to go public.

According to the company’s prospectus, as of June 30, 2023, UBTech had delivered its products and services to more than 900 corporate clients in 50 countries and regions across the globe.

Total sales volume of its humanoid robots hit 760,000 units. This number positions the Shenzhen-headquartered company as one of the pioneers in commercialization of the cutting-edge technology, the prospectus states.

The company recorded revenue of 740 million yuan (US$103.6 million), 817 million yuan and 1 billion yuan in 2020, 2021 and 2022, at a CAGR of 16.7% during this period.

Notably, the revenue in 2022 jumped 23.4% year on year.

Nonetheless, despite the bold claims about rising revenue and brightening commercial prospects, the company has been hemorrhaging money since its inception.

Its losses widened from 707 million yuan in 2020 to 917.5 million yuan in 2021 and 987.4 million yuan in 2022. As of the first half of this year, the company already piled up losses to the tune of 547.9 million yuan.

Besides, humanoid robotics, which is said to be crucial to its operation, seems to occupy a fairly small proportion of its annual revenue.

In 2022, for instance, although the humanoid robot unit reported 51.84 million yuan in revenue, more than tripling the amount from a year earlier, it still represented only 5.1% of the overall income that year.

This raises the question as to whether the much-vaunted humanoid robotics business can really sustain the operation of the company.

The company is indeed a leader in patent applications related to humanoid robotics.

cnrobopedia reported earlier that it boasts a total of 763 patents in the field of humanoid, ahead of former frontrunners Honda, Sony and Toyota, according to a domestic survey.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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