Haier, China’s leading home appliance maker, launched two commercial sweeping robots B3 and B5 on June 30, aiming to provide Chinese commercial property operators with automated cleaning solutions to offset soaring labor costs.
B3 is meant for use in small- to medium-sized spaces measuring 200 to 3,000 sqm such as office buildings and hotels, while B5 caters to a larger area, at 2,000 to 12,000 sqm.
They both come with an autonomous workstation that is able to refill water, discharge wastewater, heat and gather dust on its own.
These features free commercial space operators from the burden of doing the cleaning themselves and save up on labor costs.
According to market research, China’s commercial cleaning sector employes 10 million to 15 million people, with about a fourth to a third of them involved in floor cleaning services.
Amid surging labor costs and a shortage of labor, public areas are in greater need of smart cleaning gadgets, pushing higher the demand for robotic vacuum sweepers.
According to a study by ChinaIRN.com, a market research organization, by 2025 China’s commercial sweeping robot market is expected to hit approximately 100 billion yuan (US$13.86 billion).
Haier’s B5 robot scrubber, which can identify the texture of different floor tiles, switches between modules needed under different cleaning modes.
It is designed for operation in a wider area, and comes with technologies to help it position itself, recognize escalators and navigate through crowds, as part of its so-called customized solutions.
Notably, unlike a majority of commercial robotic sweepers in the market, Haier claims users can coordinate a fleet of its robots via a cloud management platform.
Despite Haier’s size, impact and deep pockets, it faces increasingly intense competition in the commercial cleaning space against domestic rivals like Gausium (高仙机器人) and Ecovacs (科沃斯, 603486.SH).