China is investing a lot of capital into robotics, and one side effect is a flood of companies working on bipedal entertainment robots. It’s now impossible to walk through a tech show in Beijing without seeing a handful of the two-legged bots krumping and somersaulting their way into the hearts of consumers.

It’s also spawned a trend of mass robot performances, where the the gadgets are programmed to take part in flash mob-style dance routines. While small scale performances have been held at expos and marketing events for some time, the mass performances went viral when CCTV staged a break dance featuring 540 bipedal robots during their Spring Festival Gala, a hugely popular annual event televised countrywide during Chinese New Years.

The event was not only visually spectacular, but also gave the company behind the robots, UBTECH Robotics Corp., a serious marketing bump. The robots taking part were the ‘Apha 1S’ models, a programable bipedal robot designed purely for entertainment purposes. To cap off the event in a truly tech-tacular fashion, drones dumped glitter over the bots during the performance’s finale.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com