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With an ever-expanding line of robots that vacuum, mop, and clear pools and gutters, iRobot is cleaning up in markets across the world. In February 2016, iRobot sold its defense and security robot business to Arlington Capital Partners, pocketing $45 million, to focus solely its consumer robotics business. The strategy seems to be paying off. Third-quarter 2016 revenue was up 23% year over year, and in fall 2016, the company made decisive moves to capitalize on a burgeoning Asian market, opening a third Chinese subsidiary in Shanghai—joining those in Hong Kong and Guangzhou—with a dedicated sales and marketing team. (Japan is already iRobot's biggest international market.) iRobot also started selling a revamped, more affordable version of its square, floor-mopping Braava robot in China, where most homes have hard floors and vacuum cleaners are less common. With the Chinese market for home robots projected to grow three times as fast as the U.S. market, CEO Colin Angle has promised to spend three to four times more on Chinese marketing and advertising in 2017 than 2016. 

50 Most Innovative Companies 2017


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