Sat, Sep 05, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Acer invests in robotics start-up company Jibo

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer Inc (宏碁) has invested in US start-up Jibo in a bid to tap into the robotics industry, media reported yesterday.

Jibo, which manufactures home assistance robots, is to start shipping the products this autumn, Acer CEO Jason Chen (陳俊聖) said on Thursday on the sidelines of the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin.

Chen said Acer participated in Jibo’s second round of fund-raising last month, but did not disclose the exact amount it invested.

Jibo raised US$11 million last month after securing US$25.3 million from investors in January.

The company’s robot is available for pre-order at US$749.

Chen said the investment in Jibo is a strategic move for Acer, as the company had no plans to set up a robotics research and development facility on its own.

Instead, acquiring other robotics companies would be one of the options for Acer to expand its reach in this booming market, Chen said.

While Jibo’s main market is the US at the moment, Acer is to play a role when the robots enter the Asian market, Chen added.

The company would like to integrate its cloud-computing platform with Jibo’s robots in the long run, but the details of their strategic cooperation with Jibo has not yet been finalized, Chen said.

Acer is also in talks with another company that produces robots for commercial purposes and Chen planned to settle the details of that investment before the end of this year, reports said.

Meanwhile, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) has set up an advanced research center for a robotics project in a bid to seek long-term growth for the company.

In an interview with technology blog network Engadget last month, Asustek chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) said that he monitored the robotics project on a weekly basis.

Asustek is set to unveil its first interactive service robot as soon as next year, Engadget reported.

The latest push by Acer and Asustek into the robotics industry came after Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) teamed up with Softbank Corp in the production of the Pepper humanoid robot in June.

Softbank has already sold 3,000 Peppers in Japan since the robots hit the market on June 20. The firm is to take new orders for the fourth batch of 1,000 Peppers on Sept. 26.

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