Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Adata announces home robot Arobot, bets on robotics

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Adata Technology Co (威剛科技), the nation’s biggest memory module maker, yesterday announced its first commercial artificial intelligence (AI) product, a home robot, in its latest bid to diversify into the fledgling robotics market.

The voice-controlled Arobot, a robotic home companion, provides busy parents remote monitoring capabilities and educational resources for their children, Adata said.

The robot also provides care for elderly people and can remind them when to take their medicine, the company said.

“We believe robotics has a high potential to become the next US$400 billion industry by 2030, replacing the mobile phone industry... Taiwan could take a 20 percent share, given its strong position among the world’s electronics producers,” Adata chairman Simon Chen (陳立白) told a news conference.

“Robotics is a high-margin business that can help lift Adata’s profitability,” Chen said.

The 54cm-tall Arobot is to have a similar price tag — less than NT$20,000 (US$664) — as other home robots with similar specifications, while another model without a display is to be priced at less than NT$9,000, the company said.

Adata plans to take orders for Arobot from August and expects revenue from its robotics business to reach NT$1 billion within one year of its launch.

If that goal can be reached, Adata would consider spinning off the robotics business group and creating a new entity with a share listing plan in mind, Chen said, adding that the company would not rule out the possibility of an overseas initial public offering.

Adata is not the first local company to target robotics in a bid for new growth.

PC maker Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) showcased its first home robot, Zenbo, in June last year, but only started taking orders in January.

Adata invested heavily to develop its robotics business for more than two years before deciding that building a robot by itself was too much of an uphill task, Chen said.

The investment reduced its earnings per share (EPS) by NT$2 last year, Chen said.

Last year, Adata posted EPS of NT$6.21.

The company is keen to seek strategic partnerships with Asustek and other local firms in the electronics industry, including software developers or those working on voice, or image identification systems.

“The robotics supply chain will become the new Apple supply chain,” driving the nation’s electronics sector, Chen said.

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