According to a report by Reuters SoftBank Group is reducing its global robotics business, and has stopped the production of Pepper. According to sources of Reuters sales of the humanoid robot, built by Foxconn in China, did not meet expectations. Allegedly a total of 27,000 Peppers were produced.
His could lead to SoftBank eliminating half of its 330 staff positions in France, a business started in 2012 with the acquisition of French robotics firm Aldebaran. In France, negotiations on layoffs are ongoing with final numbers not decided, a SoftBank spokesperson told Reuters. Staff have also been laid off in the U.S. and UK and redeployed in Japan, the spokesperson said, declining to provide further deals. SoftBank “will continue to make significant investments in next-generation robots to serve our customers and partners,” the French robotics business said in a statement.