Tue, Aug 18, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Asustek to enter robotics industry in attempt to thrive

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese PC maker Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) is to tap into the interactive service robots industry in a bid for long-term business growth, a company executive said.

In an interview with multilingual technology blog network Engadget, Asustek chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) said that the company has established an advanced research center, the Da Vinci Lab, to undertake research and development for the robotics business.

Shih said he is personally driving the robotics project and the company aims to manufacture a robot with the ability to interact with humans, similar to the intelligent Pepper robot co-developed by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Japan’s Softbank Corp’s.

The report said Asustek would unveil its first service robot as soon as next year.

Asustek spokesman Nick Wu (吳長榮) yesterday said that the robotic project is still in the development stages.

Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) said it is a positive business move for Asustek; shifting away from its PC business amid the declining PC industry.

A Yuanta analyst, who declined to be named, told the Taipei Times that Asustek’s establishment of a research center for its robotic segment shows that the company still has strong research and development capabilities, which is important in the competitive global market.

“Asustek’s domestic rival Acer Inc (宏碁), on the other hand, is weaker in term of research and development,” the analyst said, adding that this is one of the reasons Acer is transitioning slower than Asustek.

However, the analyst said that as developing and manufacturing robots require significant funding, Asustek should seek a strategic partner for the project.

Apart from robotics, Asustek also sees the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of their business growth amid the rising “cloud” computing era.

At a news conference in Taipei yesterday, Asustek said the company is to form a strategic cloud-computing platform this quarter, welcoming international IoT-related software or hardware suppliers to join the platform in a bid to expand Asustek’s cloud-computing ecosystem.

The company’s chief executive officer of cloud services Peter Wu (吳漢章), said US-based start-up Zoom Video Communications Inc, which has more than 40 million registered users, has joined Asustek’s cloud-computing platform “ZenWorld.”

Wu said that as Asustek’s strategic partner, Zoom could utilize its cloud storage for video and Web conferencing, while Asustek could expand its reach in the IoT-related industry.

Asustek’s stock price grew 0.72 to NT$280 yesterday, in Taipei trading outperforming the TAEX, which lost 1.11 percent.

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