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Start-ups

Chemical makers invest in Chinese tech firms

by Melody M. Bomgardner
July 25, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 29

 

Chemical firms’ search for growth is taking them to China to invest in young companies with new technology. BASF and Evonik Industries are backing SmartAHC, an animal health monitoring start-up based in Chengdu and Shanghai. SmartAHC is targeting pig farms for its networked monitoring devices and software that use artificial intelligence to identify individual pigs, track their location, and measure their temperature and fertility. It can help farmers detect and isolate sick animals to prevent the spread of disease. Other devices from SmartAHC track feed consumption and monitor environmental conditions. China accounts for around half of the approximately 1.4 billion pigs brought to market a year. Separately, Solvay’s venture arm has invested an undisclosed sum in Richland Capital Fund III, a China-based venture fund that invests in Chinese companies in advanced materials, manufacturing equipment, and digital technologies. “By partnering with Richland Capital, we want to support and share in the upgrade of China’s manufacturing ecosystem towards higher value added applications and products,” Solvay Ventures managing director Stéphane Roussel says in a statement.

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