Amidst the wave of modern technology, there exists a company that has embraced innovation as its mission and is committed to aiding individuals with mobility impairment and disabilities in reclaiming normal lives. Enter Robooter(Chinese: 邦邦机器人), a high-tech industrial modernization company established in 2016, which is diligently raising new standards in the field of assistive mobility. EqualOcean recently interviewed the founder of Robooter, Li Jianguo, to explore their dist
A Vision Transformed into Reality
Robooter emerged with a noble objective – to facilitate the return of individuals with mobility impairments to active, independent lives. "Our journey began by focusing on addressing the transportation and rehabilitation needs of people with lower limb movement disorders," Li shared. "We felt a strong sense of responsibility towards this underserved group and were dedicated to making a difference in their lives."
Li outlined the initial challenge of creating a unified terminology for an industry previously known by various names such as "elderly mobility scooters" and "home mobility devices." Robooter coined the term "assistant mobility" to encompass a comprehensive range of products spanning from mobility aids to motorized wheelchairs. This act was symbolic of their intent to revolutionize the field.
As Robooter consistently maintains its unwavering commitment to innovation and uncompromising quality, it clinched both the prestigious IF Design and CEID awards. Additionally, these efforts in the realm of mobility and scooter technologies have resulted in the successful acquisition of multiple quality assurance certifications, including the coveted CE certification for European markets and the FDA certification for the United States.
Innovations That Set Them Apart
As pioneers in the assistant mobility sector, Robooter has constructed an impressive array of barriers to entry, ensuring their prominence. "Our focus on advanced technology and safety sets us apart," Li stated confidently. A hallmark of Robooter’s success is its dedication to self-reliance. All their products are 100% self-developed, apart from the batteries. The company's commitment to in-house innovation ensures complete control over product quality, features, and security, while also contributing to the domestic push for reducing reliance on imports.
Additionally, the company boasts a proprietary intelligent control system, ensuring optimal movement for users. Li explained their sophisticated AI-based learning system, which includes a "beginner mode" tailored for users with varying abilities, including conditions like Parkinson's disease. "Our technology compensates for tremors associated with conditions like Parkinson's, guaranteeing a safe and smooth ride," Li noted. This personalized approach extends to terrain adaptability, where AI algorithms analyze terrain changes and adjust motor power distribution, ensuring secure mobility even on challenging surfaces.
Further discussing technical strengths, Li highlighted their emphasis on lightweight design and material selection, addressing user concerns about vehicle weight and energy efficiency. "We've embraced the hydrogen concept, focusing on weight reduction, and this has resonated with users," he noted.
From ToB to ToC: Challenges and Transformation
In the interview, Li Jianguo recounted Robooter’s transformation journey. Initially, the company focused on ToB (to-business) operations, providing rehabilitation equipment to hospitals. However, Li Jianguo recognized the limitations of this model: the sales cycle was lengthy, and the quantity was limited. This realization led them to swiftly pivot towards the ToC (to-consumer) market, concentrating on providing assistant mobility products for individuals with lower limb mobility impairments.
"Our initial intention was to serve a billion individuals with lower limb mobility impairments, but our previous business model didn't align with this goal. We decided to shift towards the consumer market, directly selling to consumers. While this path is more challenging, we firmly believe it's the right choice," Li Jianguo stated.
It is worth mentioning that Robooter offers more than just innovative products; their commitment to after-sales support is equally ground-breaking. Their remote assistance system, similar to Tesla's, ensures timely support, minimizing the potential for repeated issues. "Our products aren't immune to faults, but we've achieved an impressive 99.8% rate of issue-free operation within a year," Li proudly shared.
Li elaborated that their modular product design enables remote upgrades and replacements. "We can resolve most issues remotely, and our reliability speaks for itself," he added.
Entering Overseas Markets with Competitive Pricing Strategy
In terms of entering overseas markets, Robooter swiftly emerged as a trailblazer for Chinese brands. Li Jianguo emphasized that they were the first company in the assistant mobility industry to genuinely venture into overseas markets with original designs and Chinese technology as their foundation.
"Our intention was to truly enter overseas markets with original designs, technological advancement, and our own brand. During this process, we encountered numerous challenges, including patent issues, cross-border team building, international certifications, and more. Nevertheless, we persevered and eventually established coverage in over 30 countries worldwide," Li Jianguo proudly stated.
Robooter’s strategic robotic products have achieved remarkable feats in indoor autonomous mobility. Li Jianguo revealed that they initially adopted a relatively higher pricing strategy, which has gradually decreased by 40%-50%, significantly expanding product coverage.
"Our product's price has not only decreased, but we've also made significant breakthroughs in self-research and domestic substitution. Increased production and independent development have lowered costs and enhanced our competitiveness in the overseas market," explained Li Jianguo.
Overseas Market Development Trends: Strong Market Demand, Enormous Opportunities
In the next 3 to 5 years, Robooter will continue focusing on expanding overseas markets. Li Jianguo predicts sustained growth in the assistive robotics industry, offering Chinese brands ample opportunities to seize market share. Li Jianguo firmly believes that Chinese manufacturers have already surpassed foreign counterparts in intelligent technology and system integration. He mentioned that Robooter ranks among the global leaders in terms of intelligence, safety, and design standards. As evidence, he highlighted Robooter’s innovation in active safety functions, making them an industry leader: "Our product is the first in the industry to truly possess terrain perception and motor power distribution, ensuring active safety during user travel."
Regarding market demand, Li Jianguo pointed out that the global population of individuals with lower limb mobility impairments is continuously growing, resulting in robust demand for assistive robotics. Particularly as the baby boomer generation gradually enters old age, the demand for assistive mobility products will continue to rise. "The acceleration of market space expansion and user acceptance of innovative designs is very optimistic for enterprises like ours with original designs and a willingness to enter international markets," Li Jianguo confidently expressed.
Concerning future overseas strategies, Li Jianguo disclosed that Robooter has developed a user strategy plan internally, known as "10,000, 100,000, 500,000, 1 million." He explained, "We aim to serve 100,000 customers by 2023, and 500,000 customers by 2026."
This plan signifies Robooter’s ongoing expansion of overseas market share, thereby achieving broader influence and market share. This recognition not only showcases the strength of Chinese brands but also vividly demonstrates the rapid rise of China's assistive robotics industry on a global scale.