Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) The first 168 units of robot "Zenbo" developed by Taiwan-based PC brand Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩), sold out in under five minutes after the PC vendor launched pre-order sales on Jan. 1.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Asustek said orders for more than 1,000 units of Zenbo were received on the company's website in four minutes and 18 seconds after pre-order sales started at noon on Jan. 1.
The initial orders far outstripped supply, with only 168 units available in the first batch. Robot Zenbo is part of Asustek's efforts to diversify its product line and generate more sales revenue faced with a slow global PC market.
Asustek said it would conduct a lucky draw to randomly select 168 buyers from the more than 1,000 orders. The PC vendor said it will start shipping the robot after the Lunar New Year holiday which starts on Jan. 27 and runs through Feb. 1.
The company unveiled Zenbo on May 30, 2016 during Computex Taipei 2016, the largest ICT exhibition in Asia. In December, the company introduced the robot to consumers in Taiwan and priced the standard version of the Zenbo with a 32G memory capacity at NT$19,900 (US$617) and an upgraded 128G version at NT$24,900.
Zenbo operates on two wheels and its main body resembles a Dyson vacuum-cleaner ball. The head is an oblong-shaped camera with a color touchscreen that displays a face capable of showing emotion.
Through Zenbo, Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) has said, the company will strive to bring smart living to every household by connecting the divergent elements of life.
The robot is able to assist the elderly by reminding them of medical appointments and when they need to take their medicine, while keeping children entertained, according to Asustek.
The company describes Zenbo as "a smart home manager, security guard, hands-free kitchen assistant and family photographer."
Market analysts said that Zenbo is competitive in terms of pricing, costing less than a high-end smartphone, so it is expected to help Asustek generate additional sales in 2017, as robots become increasingly popular at home and abroad.
As a result of the strong pre-order sales, shares in Asustek rose 0.75 percent to close at NT$267.00 on the local main board on Tuesday, with the weighted index ending up 0.21 percent.
(By Jeffery Wu and Frances Huang)