Midea, the Chinese company which acquired industrial robotics and automation systems supplier Kuka, is planning to launch robot bartenders and design factories where no humans are needed.
Neither one of the ideas is new, since most visitors to robotics industry events may have seen at least one robotic arm pouring and serving up a drink, and fully automated factories have been much discussed for some time.
Midea, which claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of air conditioners and home appliances, has strengthened its presence in North America by opening new facilities to support what it says is “continued business growth in the region”.
Midea’s North American locations include a customer service center, expanded corporate office spaces, and research and development facilities. This expansion further enhances Midea’s network of over 280 major product facilities and logistics centers worldwide.
Jim Tomaszewski, president of Midea America, says: “Our physical expansion in North America is a testament to the continued business growth in this important market.
“Not only will these facilities give us the resources and tools we need to meet the fast-growing demand for high-quality products for the home in the US and Canada, but they will also create more jobs in each location, which will help to boost the local economies.” Continue reading Midea expands in North America
China’s Midea said it will complete its takeover of German robotics maker Kuka in the first half of January after the United States authorities gave the deal a green light.
Midea, which launched a €4.5 billion offer for Kuka in May, said Germany’s markets regulator had approved the settlement of the transaction, allowing it to control a 94.55 percent voting stake in Kuka from January onwards.
The bid for Kuka, a high-tech robotics manufacturer, sparked controversy in Germany amid fears that key technologies were falling into foreign hands at a time when China protects its own companies against foreign takeovers. Continue reading US gives Midea green light to buy Kuka
China-based investment expert Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng, says Chinese manufacturers have progressed from being considered “shanzai” – copycats – to embracing the idea of becoming developers of advanced robotics and automation systems
Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea’s move to acquire Kuka, the German robot maker, could be a defining moment in the evolution of China’s manufacturing sector.
China’s reliance on low-cost, labour-intensive manufacturing to power its immense economy is no longer attractive, mainly due to the rise in labour and other costs.
In this part of our series of articles about investing in robotics and automation, Brian Gahsman, managing partner and chief investment officer at GBSfunds, explains what type of robotics and automation enterprises his company, Gahsman Branton, is interested in investing in
Robotics and Automation News: Are you mainly looking at investing in established companies or startups?
Brian Gahsman:Actually both. There is a great number of publicly traded companies in this space with established earnings and the leaders make a solid foundation of the holdings in my strategy. That being said, even these established companies began as startups in the not so distant past.
Towards the end of last year, the nominally communist Chinese government announced that it wants China to become the world’s largest producer of industrial robots.
In comments made in the past few months, China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have clearly stated their intention to embrace robots and the new industrial revolution brought about by internet connectivity and artificial intelligence.
In a speech to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jinping called for a “robot revolution”, saying: “Our country will be the biggest market for robots, but can our technology and manufacturing capacity cope with the competition? Not only do we need to upgrade our robots, we also need to capture markets in many places.”
Kuka says it has generated record levels of business across its units, with almost €900 million worth of orders placed in the second quarter of 2016. The figure represents a 28 per cent increase on the previous year’s profits.
In it robotics division, earnings increased to €25.5 million in the past quarter, says the company in a report.
Kuka, a Germany-based company established in 1898, is one of the world’s leading industrial robot manufacturers.
In recent weeks it has been the subject of a takeover bid by Chinese company Midea, which makes electrical appliances.
Midea says it currently has more than 80 per cent of Kuka’s shares, according to Bloomberg.com, which would seem to mean that Midea now owns Kuka.
Chinese company Midea, which makes consumer appliances, has launched a bid to buy all of Kuka, the industrial robot manufacturer from Germany. It already owns around 14 per cent.
Midea floated the proposal through its affiliate, Mecca International. The deal on the table is for all shares in Kuka at €115 per share.
The decision confirms Midea’s previously stated intention to increase its shareholding in Kuka. Currently, Midea indirectly owns 13.5 percent of Kuka’s shares. In line with the applicable regulatory framework, the increase of the shareholding to more than 30 percent requires an offer for all issued shares in Kuka. Continue reading Chinese bid to buy Kuka