DTI backs Taiwanese firm's plan to bring robot assistants to PH airports

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports the plan of Taiwanese firm the New Kinpo Group (NKG) to bring robot assistants to Philippine airports.

The DTI said in a statement on Friday, May 10, that Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez "committed" to help NKG with its plan by connecting it with the proper government agencies.

"Sec Lopez committed to connect NKG with the Departments of Transportation (DOTr) and Tourism (DOT) to facilitate its planned installation of airport robot assistants. Once in place, the robot concierge will guide passengers to their respective terminals by scanning their boarding passes," DTI said.

Lopez welcomed the prospect of having robot assistants in Philippine airpots.

“These robots can be a great feature in some of our newer airports. These technologies also help bring public awareness to the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI)," the trade chief said.

"As the Philippines has its eyes on being an AI Center of Excellence by 2025, we look forward to seeing more of these and manufacturing them here in the country," he added.

The DTI said that in 2018, NKG began talks with SM Supermalls to supply them with customer service robot assistants.

The DTI also said that through the Board of investments (BOI), it will support NKG's expansion plan in the country.

NKG will build a 24,000-square-meter facility in Lipa, Batangas, NKG CEO Simon Shen told DTI officials led by Lopez on May 2. This is also part of the company's bid to position the Philippines as its hub in Southeast Asia. 

DTI said NKG will also develop its manufacturing plant at the First Philippine Industrial Park, Incorporated in Sto Tomas, Batangas, and that the expansion plans will increase its workforce from 11,000 to 18,000 in the next two to 3 years. 

NKG's local subsidiary, Cal-Comp Technology (Philippines), Incorporated, will conduct an initial public offering in 2019 to fund the company's expansion. – Rappler.com