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Japan-Update

SoftBank's Pepper robot moves into Chinese homes through Haier deal

Japanese group teams with local appliance maker

Japan's SoftBank Group sees China as a springboard to sell its Pepper service robot worldwide.

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group will bring more of its Pepper service robots to China by collaborating with local consumer electronics company Haier.

SoftBank Robotics, a unit of the Japanese technology group, recently agreed on a partnership with Haier that will see them cooperate on smart homes featuring networked appliances.

Haier's sales network in China spans around 200,000 retail stores. The partners envision using Pepper in stores and elsewhere to control appliances.

The Pepper robot has been adopted by about 2,500 businesses in Japan. In Taiwan, SoftBank sells the robot in collaboration with electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry.

SoftBank's robotics unit seeks to use the massive Chinese market as a springboard to expand the Pepper business worldwide.

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