(Adds amount of investment by Alibaba and Foxconn, comments)
TOKYO, June 18 (Reuters) - Japan’s SoftBank Corp said on Thursday it is setting up a joint venture with Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba and electronics supplier Foxconn Technology to sell its human-like robot Pepper around the world.
The robots - which the mobile phone and Internet conglomerate envisions serving as baby-sitters, medical workers or even party companions - would go on sale to general consumers from Saturday for 198,000 yen ($1,610.54) each plus monthly fees and insurance, the companies said in a joint statement.
The waist-high robot, which is already used in stores including SoftBank’s mobile phone shops, can learn and express human emotions, according to the Japanese firm.
Foxconn already produces Pepper but a general sale, especially with the involvement of Alibaba, will require greater investment, according to some analysts.
SoftBank said it would have a 60 percent stake in the joint venture, with Alibaba and Taiwan-based Foxconn each spending 14.5 billion yen ($117.94 million) for 20 percent stakes.
SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said the partnership was a first step to becoming a top robotics business.
“We will aim to be the No.1 robotics company,” he said. ($1 = 122.9400 yen) (Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Stephen Coates)