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An employee types on a touch screen as a Geek+ Inc. Eve robot transports shelves at a warehouse in Japan in 2017. Photo by Bloomberg

Chinese Warehouse Automation Startup Seeks $1.3 Billion Valuation

Photo: An employee types on a touch screen as a Geek+ Inc. Eve robot transports shelves at a warehouse in Japan in 2017. Photo by Bloomberg

Hai Robotics, a Chinese startup that develops warehouse robots similar to those made by Amazon’s robotics unit, is in talks with Sequoia Capital China and other investors to raise more than $150 million at a pre-money valuation of $1.3 billion, roughly triple its last valuation from a funding round in March, said people familiar with the situation. The rapid increase in the company’s valuation reflects growing investor interest in the warehouse robotics sector, sparked by a surge in e-commerce globally.

Major Chinese automation startups are getting a lift as investors and startups look for technological solutions to the problem of the country’s shrinking workforce. But the Chinese firms are also eyeing global markets. Earlier this year, the five-year-old Hai Robotics started building up its U.S. team at its new office in Fremont, Calif., as it hopes to work with more American clients.

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