June 18, 2015 / 6:45 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-SoftBank teams up with Alibaba, Foxconn to sell Pepper robot

(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)

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