China’s securities watchdog released a notice on August 25 showing its approval of the application by humanoid robot developer UBTech (优必选) to list on Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The decision was rendered by the global division of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), clearing the way for the firm to pursue its HK listing.
On the same day, UBTech updated its prospectus filed with the HKEX, resuming the process to go public on the main board of the bourse. Guotai Junan, a leading domestic securities broker, serves as its sole sponsor.
Aside from greenlighting the bid by UBTech. CSRC also approved the applications of three other domestic firms to pursue an offshore listing.
Founded in 2012, UBTech has focused on making humanoid robots. Walker, a model it released in 2018, is the first commercialized full-size biped in China.
Humonoid robots contributed 51.84 million yuan (US$7.11 million) to UBTech’s revenue in 2022, up 304.9%. In the first four months of this year, they generated 5.45 million yuan, skyrocketing 2,072.9% from the same period last year.
Sales of humanoid robots represented 4.2% of the overall revenue, according to its prospectus.
Loss-making for years
Nonetheless, UBTech has racked up huge losses since its birth, with a big chunk of money being sunk into R&D activities.
In 2020, 2021 and the first three quarters of 2022, the humanoid robot pioneer recorded a combined net loss of 2.4 billion yuan.
Market analysts are skeptical of the firm’s prospects, citing a dearth of application scenarios and poor revenue streams.
Information from Frost & Sullivan shows that UBTech is the country’s largest smart robot supplier in the field of STEM education, with a market share of 22.5%.
Its robots are occasionally showcased at major sporting events to wow the audience, but have yet to achieve mass-market penetration due to high prices and limited use cases.