China’s largest social media platform WeChat has opened its first unmanned store in Shanghai, ifnews.com reported. The unmanned store was jointly opened Saturday by WeChat, unmanned convenience store, EasyGo and other partners. Snacks, beverages, coffee, clothing, household items, flowers and even a bike are available at the store.
Shoppers need to scan a QR code with their WeChat app to enter the store. Sensors at the exit detect the shopper’s selections and automatically charge their WeChat wallet when they go through a “payment door.” However, WeChat said it “only provides a platform, but will not be engaged in the operating activities.”
WeChat payment industry operations director Bai Zhenjie said it takes less than 0.1 seconds for a customer to pay a bill. He added that facial and image recognition technology may be adopted in the store in the future. Many Chinese internet and e-commerce companies have ventured into unmanned convenience stores.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba opened its first autonomous store, Tao Cafe, in Hangzhou, where the company is headquartered, in July last year. In September, Chinese e-commerce company JD.com also started testing two unmanned convenience store models in Beijing.