UBTech marks HKEX gong strike with clang from new humanoid robot Walker S

This was part of the Asian financial center's IPO ritual to celebrate the firm's listing, which is seen by market watchers as the pinnacle of a 11-year entrepreneurial odyssey.

Meet Walker S, the first humanoid robot to strike the gong at Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Walker S, a full-size humanoid robot developed by UBTech (优必选科技, HK: 9880), was one of the highlights alongside the robotics company’s much-heralded IPO on HKEX on December 29, 2023.

Walker S, which UBTech said is a new model catering to industrial manufacturing, made its first public appearance on the day of the Shenzhen-based firm’s trading debut.

In a video clip documenting the IPO, the company’s iconic Panda Robot is seen stepping onto the stage and walking toward Zhou Jian, the founder, chairman and CEO of UBTech.

Photo courtesy of UBTech

In the meantime, it is seen carrying a mallet in one hand, its tip wrapped in red cloth — a color symbolizing good fortune in Chinese tradition.

After Zhou grasped the mallet handed over by the robot, he struck the gong together with Walker X — also carrying a mallet and standing on his left-hand side.

This was part of the Asian financial center’s IPO ritual to celebrate the firm’s listing, which is seen by market watchers as the pinnacle of a 11-year entrepreneurial odyssey.

Unknown specs

Media reports alleged that UBTech’s Walker series has a gross margin of 51.2%, with an average unit price of nearly 5.99 million yuan (US$838,085).

Screenshot from UBTech’s video footage

Nevertheless, it has yet to disclose the specs of Walker X and how it differs with its two predecessors, namely, Walker and Walker S.

According to Chinese media reports, Walker S is the product of Uqi Robot (优奇机器人), a joint venture formed in 2023 by UBTech and Miracle Automation (天奇股份). UBTech owns 78% of its stake, with the remainder controlled by Miracle Automation.

Building capacity, step by step

Uqi, which chose the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi as its headquarters, is devoted to the development and production of humanoid robots to be applied in automaking.

cnrobopedia reported earlier that the new venture will roll out humanoid bipeds by the end of this year.

Walker S, whose name was not revealed then, will steadily become capable of tasks ranging from material handling and flexible assembling to tightening torque for machine screws, according to an exchange filing by Miracle Automation.

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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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