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Chemical Firms to Invest in Young Chinese Tech Companies

July 27, 2020 / Melody M. Bomgardner

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 ...