The unglamorous plastics recycling sector has caught the attention of one of the world's largest asset management groups.
Beijing Incom Renewable Resources Recovery Co. Ltd. announced that it has secured $15 million of Series A financing from San Mateo, Calif.-based Franklin Templeton Investments.
Incom claims to be the largest supplier and operator of intelligent solid waste recovery systems — with its flagship PET bottle-collecting machines — in China, bringing the latest technologies such as the Internet of Things and mobile apps into the traditional field of recycling.
The deal with Franklin Templeton shows that leading global investment firms have high hopes and confidence for China's recycling industry, Incom said in a statement.
Incom said it developed China's first proprietary PET bottle collecting machine in 2012. Today, it boasts a network of 1,500 machines just in the Chinese capital city with plans to expand the coverage nationwide.
Its machines are equipped with cloud software, generating massive amounts of valuable data that helps the government to research residential recycling patterns and enact policies accordingly.
Incom said the hardware of its bottle collecting machines are comparable to the first tier machines in the global recycling field. But it touts its cloud management platform and intelligent reverse logistics system as the most advanced in the world.
Looking to export its products to the international market, the company has signed up regional distributors from countries including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Ukraine and the Netherlands.
Incom's in-home recyclable item pickup service, launched earlier this year, already covers nearly 100 subdivisions in Beijing and is expected to extend to 4,000 subdivisions.
Incom General Manager Chang Tao said the Franklin Templeton investment will fuel Incom's rapid growth, specifically in expanding multi-channel recycling systems and scaling up its business. The company also plans to use some of fund to grow its business of selling novelty plastics products made of recycled materials, he said in a statement.