It’s Happened: KUKA Is Now Chinese Owned
Kagan Pittman posted on July 18, 2016 |

KUKA's industrial robots are widely used in manufacturing applications like automotive.

KUKA's industrial robots are widely used in manufacturing applications like automotive.

Industrial robot powerhouse KUKA Roboter GmbH is now Chinese-owned.

China’s Made in China 2025 (MiC2025) policy has driven many bold moves from the country’s manufacturing industry, spurring manufacturers to adopt a quality-over-quantity philosophy and incentivising them to be more innovative than ever.

In an attempt to follow that trend, Chinese household appliance manufacturer Midea recently reported its successful purchase of 76.4 percent of the shares for KUKA.

Midea announced its bid for control of the company back in May, originally holding 13.5 percent of KUKA’s shares. Since then, Midea has purchased 25 million shares totalling €2.9 billion (USD $3.2 billion), offering €115 ($127) per share versus their trading value of €107 ($119).

Midea’s shares in the company are still open to increase.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has discouraged politicizing the Chinese takeover of the German company.

“In principle, we support and encourage that companies from the countries involved cooperate in a mutually beneficial way, based on market principles,” said Hua Chunying, the deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “I think each country has the responsibility to provide a favorable atmosphere and conditions for this kind of win-win cooperation. Any business activity that is appropriate should not be politicized.”

KUKA CEO Till Reuter told the press Thursday that although Midea will hold a majority of the company, it will remain German. The company’s headquarters will remain in Augsburg.

“We want to support KUKA’s growth and plan to jointly realize the vast growth potential in China,” said Paul Fang, CEO of Midea. “We do not aim to dominate KUKA or delist the business.”

Midea and KUKA have made an agreement that KUKA’s brand would not be forced to change, nor share any of its intellectual property or sensitive customer data. The independence of KUKA’s leadership and all of its 12,300 jobs are guaranteed to be preserved, though only until 2023.

Using its new-found power over KUKA, Midea hopes to expand distribution of industrial robots to other Chinese industrial firms, as well as investigate new developments for smart devices and service robots.

Could this be the start of an aggressive investment trend from Chinese companies?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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