China’s version of Amazon Go launches

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Chinese e-commerce giant Taobao has found another way to rival Amazon.

It recently debuted a pop-up cashier-less cafe called Tao Cafe. You scan your smartphone at the door, grab what you need, and after you step out, the bill will be automatically sent to your smart phone. Sound familiar?

The 200 square metre (2,152 square foot) Tao Cafe is the brainchild of Taobao, which is owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Image: VCG via Getty Images

Image: VCG via Getty Images

Hundreds of eager Chinese customers experienced the store for themselves over the weekend at Taobao’s Makers Festival in Hangzhou where it debuted.

The cafe, as the name implies, also sold drinks and beverages, alongside other gifts and knick-knacks.

Purchases were made via Alibaba’s Taobao app.

Image: VCG via Getty Images

Here it is in action:

“It is a whole new shopping experience, this cashier-free store,” a man who visited the store told state-news outlet Xinhua.

For now, Alibaba has yet to announce any future plans for a more permanent fixture, though Alibaba’s chief marketing officer added that the store wasn’t an indication of the organisation “opening more cafes”.

“It’s not about Alibaba wanting to open more cafes, we are not in the restaurant business…it’s about [moving digital users] to an offline store,” Chris Tung, CMO of Alibaba Group told Marketing Interactive.

“The cafe is just a demonstration of what can be done.”

Taobao has a huge share of the Chinese market, with over 369 million people active on its mobile app alone, each month. 150 million of those log on daily.

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