Lost for words when a Chinese buyer presents themselves to you because you don’t speak the language?

A robot called “Butler 1″ may be the answer. Chinese international property portal Juwai.com is partnering with Macau-based tech startup Singou Technology to bring Mandarin-speaking robots to U.S. real estate events later this year.

“The robot is essentially a carrier that lets our AI consumer service engine be present in real estate sales offices anywhere in the world,” Juwai.com CEO Carrie Law told Inman. “The robot has the same AI brain and intelligence as our chatbot.”

The Butler 1 robot stands 4 feet, 7 inches tall, according to Dr. Hon Chi Tin, chief executive officer of Singou Technology. Hon told Inman the robot is more approachable and affordable than other existing Singou models.

“A robot is superior to a fixed device, smart speaker or smart furniture,” Hon said. “A robot has all the same benefits, plus the great advantage of being able to move and approach people just like another person would.”

Earlier models of the Singou robots have so far been used to help provide security at large organizations such as universities and convention centers. They have also been used to help monitor the elderly living on their own in their homes.

Butler 1

The first Butler 1 is expected to arrive in the U.S. by May and will cost close to $2,000, according to a press release issued by Juwai.

During the training period, early robots will be used at international property industry events in China and showrooms and offices in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore, these experiences adding to the robot’s AI data.

This summer, Singou and Juwai will be training the Singou AI engine using the data and knowledge that Juwai has gathered in its five-year history of working with international Chinese buyers.

The data crunch should also improve Juwai’s chatbot features and the responses its consumer service team provides in Shanghai to international property buyers, they said.

The number of robots that come to the U.S. will depend on the demand, said Juwai. China “installed” 90,000 industrial robots between 2010 and 2015, according to Machine Design magazine. China is expected to install 160,000 robots next year, many of them destined for factories, but butler bots are being built in even greater quantities, Juwai said.

Juwai is the exclusive international property partner of Tencent, the Chinese internet giant and operator of China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat. Juwai.com has more than 2 million Chinese-speaking users and showcases 2.5 million listings from 89 countries.

Email Gill South

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