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Future tech

Shenzhen start-up Ingdan.com wins Intel backing for consumer-robot platform

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 July, 2016, 9:07pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 July, 2016, 9:31pm

Riding China’s robot boom, Shenzhen-based technology start-up Ingdan.com has teamed up with Intel Corp and Japanese suppliers in ­robotics in a partnership to capitalise on growth in emerging markets.

Backed by Hong Kong-listed Cogobuy, Ingdan.com has signed an agreement with Intel (China) to forge a robotics ecosystem platform to help connect global laboratory resources and overseas chipmakers to Chinese robotics start-ups, which are eager to turn their ideas and technologies into affordable consumer robot products in the mainland market.

The new platform would provide these Chinese start-ups with better, more transparent access to the electronic chip sourcing ­market and institution resources across the world, said Wang Gang, a spokesman for Ingdan.com, as well as taking advantage of China’s well-established hardware manufacturing resources.

Wang said the platform aimed at accommodating more than 1,000 robotics start-ups and 300 upstream suppliers this year.

“Intel and Ingdan are seeing our roles as an incubator and connector to this market on the mainland,” Wang said. “Intel would introduce cutting-edge technologies to the start-ups and sharpen their ideas in chips, key modules and designs as more than 8,000 hardware manufacturing suppliers on Ingdan’s online platform could help build their products.”

Ingdan.com was established in 2013 by Cogobuy to provide a one-stop supply-chain platform that links technology start-ups and entrepreneurs with contract electronics manufacturing partners in mainland China to help design and build their products for the global market.

Wang said another online trading platform was set to launch today that would link Japanese suppliers of industrial robots, especially core components sourcing, with Chinese manufacturers that plan to replace workers with robots.

The firm hired Satoshi Tak­euchi, a former Japanese robot ­expert who was in charge of Panasonic’s motor business unit and Nidec Sankyo Corp’s servo motor unit, to lead the project in Japan.

“So far, a total of 10 Japanese robot manufacturers and integrators and five Japanese universities and institutions [have] joined the platform to offer various core components and integration solutions to upgrade production lines,” Wang said.

“We hope those Chinese manufacturers, which want to secure mature industrial chains for automation and robotics projects, could directly approach world-class industrial robot integrators here through such a platform, instead of home-grown technology, which still lags industry leaders from overseas.

“The platform could definitely help lower the price of the inte­gration solution so that Chinese manufacturers can enjoy a Japan-designed-and-made automated manufacturing line.”

Wang Cairong, the executive director at the China Artificial ­Intelligence Robot Industry Alliance, said: “I think a platform to link Japanese industrial robotics companies would be welcomed and practical among many Chinese factories producing high-end devices.”

Though China had been the world’s largest market for industrial robots since 2013, domestic robot makers still lagged industry leaders from overseas and relied largely on imports for key components, he said.

Total sales of industrial robots in the country reached 66,000 units last year, up 16 per cent from 2014, according to the International Federation of Robotics.