Softbank Robotics Europe is all set to lay off its 50% workforce in Paris. Because of Economic collapse, the demand for personal robots seems to degrade.
Softbank Robotics Europe, a Subsidiary group of Japan-based Company, Softbank Robotics Corp, has its headquarters in Paris. It has nearly 500 Employees. The company excels in the manufacturing of social humanoids such as Pepper and Nao.
Though their flagship robot – Pepper has been appreciated, they have never achieved financial gain in Europe compared to Japan. The price of these flagship robots appears to be the obstacle to achieve financial success in the European market. Nao costs 7000 Euros, whereas Pepper costs 17,000 Euros. Far too costly for a social robot.
According to the Le Journal du Net, Softbank Robotics Europe lost over $38 million in the FY 2019-20 and more than $119 million over the last three years. The management of Softbank Europe has plans to reduce the workforce in France because of the economic deficit. It appears that out of 323 positions 165 positions would be dropped. Among which services such as Sales, Aftersales are to be cut entirely.
Softbank Robotics Europe public statement says:
“Since 2012 Softbank Robotics Group, a subsidiary of Softbank, has invested in Humanoid Robotics and intends to keep Pepper & NAO robots business moving forward.
“In the light of the pandemic and economic slowdown, Softbank Robotics Europe is considering a significant workforce optimization plan. Our EMEA HQ located in Paris is home to about 330 employees, as of March 2021.
“In this difficult time, we want to thank all our employees for their efforts in creating the best humanoids on the planet and will make the best efforts to ensure fair departure decisions with labor representatives and local consultation bodies in France. The current round of job cuts should be completed by the end of 2021.
“The restructuring project has as one of its objectives to continue to provide product sales, services support, and maintenance for Pepper and NAO robots.
“We also want to thank our customers, partners, and suppliers for their trust in our Pepper & NAO products.
“SoftBank Robotics Europe will continue to make significant investments in next-generation robots to serve our customers and partners.”
Though Social robots are famous, Softbank robotics Europe seems to no longer prioritize Pepper and Nao for their growth strategy.