Chinese Internet giant Tencent has announced the establishment of a robotics laboratory named "Robotics X”, to support the company’s push into AI and robotics. The new lab, to be based in Shenzhen, will reinforce Tencent’s R&D in the artificial intelligence realm in conjunction with its existing AI Lab, launched in April 2016.
At the same time, the company announced that it had reached a strategic cooperation agreement with Nature Research, a subsidiary of academic publisher Springer Nature, to promote research in the field of “AI+Medical.”
"Look up at the stars, be curious, don’t just give up,” said Forrest yao, vice president of Tencnet, quoting from Stephen Hawking to elaborate Tencent’s vision in AI industry.
The Robotics X lab will be attached to Tencent’s Technology Engineering Group. Tencent didn’t disclose additional details about the new lab, such as who will be in charge, the laboratories operational direction and tasks.
However, to get an idea of the direction Tencent is taking in terms of robotics, it’s worth examining the firm’s recent investments in innovative ventures and startups.
In 2014 and 2015, Tencent made a series of large investments in Leju Robot, a Chinese developer and manufacturer of humanoid robots based in Shenzhen.
Another Shenzhen-based intelligent humanoid robots maker, Ubtech, raised US$40 million in a series C round of financing from Tencent.
US educational robotics provider Wonder Workshop also received $41 million from Tencent in a series C round in October 2017.
A month later, Tencent invested tens of millions of RMB in Ganker, a Shenzhen-based fighting robot developer in a series A round.