Robotic incubator XbotPark moves into new HQ in Dongguan, to scout next DJI

To date, the facility has incubated more than 60 "hardcore technology" firms, with the top-notch players among them valued at more than 80 billion yuan (US$11.21 billion).

XbotPark, an incubator for robotic and automation startups, opened its new headquarters in Dongguan, a manufacturing hub in southern China’s Guangdong Province, on December 21, with the aspirations to scout the next DJI (大疆科技).

The new HQ sits on a land parcel of 98 mu, or 6.53 hectares, with an entire floor space of 110,000 sqm.

Compared to the predecessor, the new facility, which serves as a breeding ground and industrial park, combines several functions, ranging from talent nurturing and R&D to production and everyday life.

In 2014, Li Zexiang, who is best known as “DJI’s godfather” for his role in supporting the company from Day One, established XbotPark with the vision to promote tech innovations in the field of robotics, automation and physical gadgets.

XbotPark provided startup founders with market education, entrepreneurial guidance, consulting, access to financing and other services to help them survive the zero-to-one phase.

To date, the facility has incubated more than 60 “hardcore technology” firms, with the top-notch players among them valued at more than 80 billion yuan (US$11.21 billion).

About 15% of these companies have achieved unicorn or quasi-unicorn status.

Typical examples include DJI, followed by Narwal (云鲸), Hai Robotics (海柔科技) and so on.

On the day of unveiling the new HQ, Li Zexiang, who is also a professor teaching at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, told reporters that China’s manufacturing industry faces two main issues.

“The first is to preserve manufacturing skills through indigenous production of equipment,” said Li. “The continuous growth of manufacturing cannot rely on imported equipment, hence the need to elevate [domestic] core competitiveness.”

Li added another issue that holds Chinese manufacturers back is the lack of branding power.

ePropulsion (逸动科技), a provider of innovative electric boat motor, is the first firm to set up shop in XbotPark.

“Under the guidance of Professor Li, a group of people can come together, communicate and support each other,” said Tao Shizheng, founder and CEO of ePropulsion.

“Most important, XbotPark brings these cohorts together, to do what they love, develop products after their own hearts and grow together in this environment.”

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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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