June 18, 2015 / 5:54 AM / in 3 years

SoftBank launches robot venture with Alibaba, Foxconn

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s SoftBank Corp said on Thursday that it was setting up a joint venture with Alibaba and Foxconn Technology to sell its human-like robot Pepper to consumers around the world.

Masayoshi Son (C), Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Japan's SoftBank Corp., Terry Gou (R), Founder and Chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology, and Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of China's Alibaba Group pose for pictures with SoftBank's human-like robots named 'pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

The robots - which the mobile phone and Internet conglomerate envisions serving as baby-sitters, medical workers or even party companions - are already being used at stores including SoftBank’s own mobile phone shops, but the companies said they would now be available to general consumers.

SoftBank said it would have a 60 percent stake in the joint venture, with Alibaba and Foxconn holding 20 percent each.

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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