Ding Xia is a Director of Investment at Ecovacs Robotics and a Global Shaper with the Suzhou Hub.

How do you see the home of the future? What role will robots play in our lives?

A robot is not only a machine, but also a housekeeper and partner. Robots can help us do things we don’t like to do or can't do; besides, they listen to us, know what we need, and interact with us in the same way families do.

Can you tell us about Unibot, Ecovacs’ recently launched multifunctional robot?

Unibot is a house-keeping robot developed by Ecovacs. It cleans our homes, but more than that, it can manage household appliances, it acts as home security, gives us reminders, and is an air purifier.

Unibot is our effort at exploring the area of more intelligent and humanized household robots. It is not just a combo of various functions, but is a technological breakthrough. It passes on our brand vision ‘Live Smart. Enjoy Life’.

Image: Ecovacs Robotics

In your spare time, you run a networking event for entrepreneurs. What are your impressions of the start-up scene in China?

First of all, it is now very popular for people to start their own business in China. Since Premier Li Keqiang proposed ‘mass entrepreneurship and innovation’ in the World Economic Forum's 2014 meeting in China, countless startups have sprung up. Besides, start-ups in fields including the internet/internet plus, robotics, and AI tend to be favored since these are the trends of future. What’s more, good policy, abundant capital, and technology greatly support the start-up scene. I am deeply convinced that this is the best era to start-up in China.

What more could be done to boost entrepreneurship levels in your region?

Personally, I am an investor from a robotic company, and also run an incubator and accelerator, which focuses on robotics and artificial intelligence. From my work, start-ups seek support in areas like services, including legal and financial consulting, accessing financing support and industrial chain resources.

What are your hopes for the future of your city, Suzhou?

My hope is more and more start-ups will emerge, grow up, and will have the power to benefit the people and contribute to the development of Suzhou.