Fox­conn, Alibaba to in­vest in Soft­Bank’s ro­bot­ics busi­ness

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS -

Tai­wan’s Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group ( ) and China’s Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd. (

) agreed on Thurs­day that they will each in­vest 14.5 bil­lion Ja­panese yen (US$117.4 mil­lion) in Soft­Bank Ro­bot­ics Hold­ings Corp., the Soft­Bank Group’s (

) in­ter­me­di­ate hold­ing com­pany re­spon­si­ble for its ro­bot­ics busi­ness.

Un­der the agree­ment, upon the com­ple­tion of the in­vest­ment by Alibaba and Fox­conn, Soft­Bank’s share own­er­ship ra­tio in Soft­Bank Ro­bot­ics will be­come 60 per­cent, and Alibaba and Fox­conn will each hold own­er­ship stakes of 20 per­cent, the com­pa­nies said in a joint state­ment.

Soft­Bank, Alibaba and Fox­conn will build a struc­ture to bring Pep­per — a ro­bot that can in­ter­act with hu­man emo­tion — and other ro­bot­ics busi­nesses to global mar­kets, and co­op­er­ate with the aim of spread­ing and de­vel­op­ing the ro­bot­ics in­dus­try on a world­wide scale, the state­ment said.

“Fox­conn is pleased to be part­ner­ing with Soft­Bank and Alibaba as part of our ef­fort to drive the ad­vance­ment of ro­bot­ics en­gi­neer­ing,” said Terry Gou ( ) , founder and CEO of Fox­conn, the world’s largest con­tract elec­tron­ics maker, which man­u­fac­tures iPhones and iPads for Ap­ple Inc.

“This is a strate­gic area of fo­cus for our com­pany as we con­tinue to ad­vance our ca­pa­bil­i­ties in in­tel­li­gent man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­al­ize our In­dus­try 4.0 vi­sion,” Gou said.

Jack Ma, founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Alibaba Group, said that as his com­pany en­ters the data tech­nol­ogy era, ro­bot­ics will be­come a crit­i­cal field that cat­alyzes tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs in nu­mer­ous sec­tors such as healthcare, public ser­vices, re­search and at home.

The Pep­per ro­bot, de­vel­oped by a Soft­Bank sub­sidiary in France and made by Fox­conn, will go on sale in Ja­pan on June 20 at 198,000 Ja­panese yen (US$1,624), with 1,000 units avail­able for pur­chase this month, ac­cord­ing to Soft­Bank.

Cour­tesy of Soft­Bank Group

From left to right, founder and CEO of Fox­conn Terry Gou ( ), Soft­Bank Group Chair­man Masayoshi Son, and Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd. founder Jack Ma pose for a photo at a kick-off cer­e­mony yesterday. The three pledged to co­op­er­ate and wade into the ro­bot­ics in­dus­try.

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