Yunfei Zhang



Founder and President

Oceanalpha Co., Ltd.

A huge fan of ship models since his childhood, Yunfei worked with several classmates to develop an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) while the majority of his peers in the postgraduate program at HKUST were focused on building drones. He soon realized that there was a large and untapped demand for USVs in the environmental and water resources sectors of China, which led him and his teammates to found Oceanalpha Co., Ltd., the first company in the world to produce USVs for the purpose of environmental protection and monitoring. Today, Oceanalpha has become the global leader in USV technology and in terms of number of deliveries.

After several years of R&D, Oceanalpha launched its first product, a USV that could operate without the use of a remote control and automatically avoid any obstacles in its path. This USV and subsequent models have revolutionized environmental protection activities such as collecting garbage and monitoring water quality: not only are they able to work in dangerous conditions and cover a large area to conduct patrols, search and rescue missions, and underwater terrain mapping, but also can drastically reduce the time needed to perform these tasks.

The early stages of financing were difficult for the team: the high cost of investment in R&D, coupled with minimal assets, made raising funds for the company a herculean task. In 2014, Oceanalpha received only 1 million yuan in bank loans. However the company has grown in leaps and bounds since then: they now employ 400 staff and recently completed their third round of financing in 2019, bringing the company’s total valuation up to 4 billion RMB.

Know more about Yunfei from:

Bloomberg - May 29, 2018