One of China’s largest international real estate websites, Juwai.com, is teaming up with a technology firm to offer new Mandarin-speaking robots for real estate agents to use with their Chinese clients.
Tech firm Singou Technology of Macau will design and build the “Butler 1” robots, which will utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the more they converse with Mandarin speakers. Its representatives said real estate firms could use the robots in their offices to help engage with Mandarin-speaking clients. Butler 1 is intended to be used by real estate developers and agents who don’t have team members who speak Mandarin, so that they can assist Chinese buyers who come to their offices.
“The robots are really designed to help offices that don’t have a Mandarin speaker,” said Carrie Law, CEO of Juwai. “In offices that do, the robot could assist the receptionist in greeting Mandarin speakers until the Mandarin-speaking agent or salesperson can come and take over.” The Butler 1 robots will first be introduced at select real estate firms as part of a pilot program, ahead of a full release.
Each robot is estimated to cost about US$2,000 (RM7,854) in the market, and will be available for sale in Malaysia with the numbers depending on demand. She said the robots will initially be available only to the property industry to assist with customer service. From there the robots will be made available to homeowners and individuals who prefer to take advantage of their ability to monitor property and at-risk individuals such as the elderly.
“We hope to learn the practical things so we can ensure the robots can be most helpful,” Law said. “It’s also important to collect data on the kind of phrases and questions that are asked. This will allow the AI engine behind the robots to work better with consumers and on behalf of agents and developers.”
Law said that Juwai will release its first bunch of robot assistants over the next month, at a number of international real estate industry events it is attending in countries including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K. There is no confirmation on which companies will begin using the robots, but it expects to have “a few hundred” of them available for sale in the U.S. by the end of next year.