Oct 29, 2018 05:19 PM

Monday Tech Briefing: ABB, Xiaomi, Landspace

1.ABB Is Building an Advanced Robotics Factory in Shanghai

The Switzerland-based automation giant ABB Group announced Saturday that it will invest $150 million to build “the world’s most advanced, automated and flexible robotics factory” in Shanghai. The factory will use collaborative robotics and smart technologies to build robots for China and neighboring markets.

ABB expects the factory to begin operating by the end of 2020 and manufacture about 100,000 robots each year. With labor costs rising, China has become the world’s largest robotics market since 2013. In 2017, one of every three robots in the world was sold to China. (Company press release)

2.BGI Genomics Claims It Followed Laws in Collecting Genetic Data

Shenzhen-listed BGI Genomics Co. Ltd. confirmed Sunday that it was punished by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology in 2015 for sending genetic data to its foreign partner, UK’s Oxford University.

BGI Genomics said in a written response to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange regarding this incident that it has worked with Oxford University and some Chinese hospitals to study the relationship between depression and certain genes. The study collected genetic data from 140,000 Chinese women, and part of that data was handed to Oxford.

However, Chinese laws forbid exporting human genetic data without government approval. BGI Genomics claimed that, once informed by the government of its wrongdoing, it destroyed data it had yet to send to Oxford. It also said that the collection of the data was conducted according to the law, and it informed all participants that their data would be used for scientific research. (Company filing, link in Chinese)

3.Xiaomi Reached 100 Million Sales Target Ahead of Schedule

Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi Corp. announced on Oct. 27 that it has met its sales target of 100 million units this year, two months ahead of its original schedule. In 2017, Xiaomi shipped about 91 million smartphones, a year-on-year increase of 65%.

Xiaomi is now China’s second largest smartphone-maker after Huawei, which is expected to ship 200 million smartphones this year. Xiaomi recently unveiled the MIX 3, priced between 3,299 yuan ($475) and 4,999 yuan ($719), marking efforts to make greater headway into the premium market. (Company announcement, link in Chinese)

4.Chinese Space Startup Landspace Fails Its First Launch Mission

The Beijing-based Landspace, a private Chinese space tech startup founded in 2015, failed at its first attempt to send a satellite into space.

The company said Saturday that the first and second stage of its rocket ZQ-1 worked normally but “something abnormal happened after the second stage,” as the spacecraft failed to reach orbit. The three-stage rocket was supposed to carry a satellite into space for state broadcaster CCTV.

Landspace is among a growing number of private companies in China to have space-flight ambitions fueled by U.S. company SpaceX, enabled by shifts in China’s space policies as Beijing seeks to gain an edge in the field. In 2015, president Xi Jinping proposed a new space strategy known as “military and civilian integration” to capitalize on the efficiency of the private sector. (The Associated Press)

5.Wanda Denies Report That It Wants to Sell Legendary Entertainment Stake

Dalian Wanda Group has denied a Reuters report that it’s exploring a partial sale of Legendary Entertainment and the full sale of its overseas sports assets.

Reuters reported that Wanda is exploring the sale of a minority stake in Legendary, a Hollywood studio Wanda bought in 2016 for $3.5 billion. The story also said that Wanda wants to sell sports marketing firm Infront Sports & Media and World Triathlon Corp., although the plan is not yet final.

Many of Wanda’s sports assets were bought in 2015, right after China’s State Council rolled out a plan to boost the country’s sport economy to 5 trillion yuan ($759 billion) by 2025. Wanda said on its website that the Reuters report is “seriously inconsistent with the facts.” (Reuters)

6. Evergrande Threatens to Sue Faraday for Inaccurate Statement

Chinese real estate giant Evergrande Group has said that it is considering suing automaker Faraday Future and its founder Jia Yueting for inaccurate statements regarding a legal case between the two parties.

Last week, both parties declared victory in an arbitration case in Hong Kong over whether Evergrande complied with the terms of its investment agreement with the cash-strapped startup Faraday Future. Faraday Future said it had won “a decisive victory” and that “Evergrande can no longer prevent (Faraday) from seeking funding through other channels.”

Evergrande admitted that Faraday could proceed with new fundraising, but complained that Faraday’s statement is misleading the public. It argued that arbitrators had not taken away its right to veto any of Faraday’s plans.

The two companies began working together late last year, when Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd., the real estate company’s health care unit, agreed to invest a total of $2 billion over three years in exchange for a 45% stake in Smart King Ltd., Faraday’s parent company. (Sohu, link in Chinese)

Compiled by Zhang Erchi

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