Chinese Internet giant Tencent has opened its first cashier-less pop-up store in Shanghai in a move to tap into the country’s promising unmanned retail industry.
At the 300-square meter shop named We Life, shoppers can use WeChat Pay, the proprietary e-wallet of messenger app WeChat, to buy items without paying cash, swiping a card, or interacting with a single human being, according to state-run China Daily.
Customers can use a phone to scan a quick response code at the gate, which enables user identification and automatic payment.
All products are equipped with radio-frequency identification tags that use magnetic chips to store information such as price and inventory.
The store will be open until February 4 and showcases Tencent’s payment capabilities in the realm of physical retail, the report quoted Bai Zhenjie, an executive in charge of retail at WeChat Pay, as saying.
Facial recognition and a credit rating system would be incorporated in future stores, Bai said.
Smart shopping has gained traction in China after an unmanned 24-hour BingoBox convenience store opened in Shanghai in June. In July, e-commerce giant Alibaba opened a cashier- less cafe in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.
China’s unmanned retail sector will reach 65 billion yuan (USD 10.2 billion) in transaction volume by 2020, up from an estimated 20 billion yuan in 2017, according to iResearch.
The development of the emerging sector has benefited from the fast expansion of e-payment technology. China’s banking institutions handled more than 25.7 billion mobile payments in 2016 with a transaction volume of 157.55 trillion yuan, state-run Xinhua news agency said quoting a report by the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.