A threatened trade war between China and America may be on hold

WANG XINGXING taps the back of his dog which, on command, stands tall, shakes its legs and struts forward. It is not a well-trained pooch so much as a well-built one. Laikago, its name, looks like a miniature version of the robo-dogs that propelled Boston Dynamics, an American robotics company, to fame. Mr Wang, a boyish 28-year-old, started work on his dog as a graduate student. It can walk on uneven surfaces, carry small loads and steady itself when kicked lightly.

 Laikago is a far cry from the Boston Dynamics breed, which is sturdier, swifter and smarter. That has not stopped China’s patriotic media from asking whether the firm Mr Wang founded, Unitree, could now rival the American one. But Boston Dynamics has been at it for more than two decades. Unitree is just getting going. It plans to open its first factory soon. For now it has a cluttered workshop in the city of Hangzhou, a tech hub west of Shanghai.

Unitree is not alone in China. The government has declared robotics a…Continue reading

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