Robotic waitresses: Alibaba launches automated restaurant in Shanghai

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Serving food at Hema. GIF via Alibaba video

Select some live seafood in one of Alibaba’s Hema grocery stores in Shanghai, get it rung up and bagged, and a robotic arm will whisk it away to a kitchen. Minutes later, a pod will wheel out of the kitchen, pulling up to your table with your meal under a transparent dome.

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Alibaba’s futuristic supermarket in China is way ahead of the US, with 30-minute deliveries and facial-recognition payment — and it shows where Amazon is likely to take Whole Foods

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The Chinese tech giant Alibaba is expanding aggressively into physical retail through investments in a variety of product categories to push its “New Retail” strategy of combining online and offline shopping.

Its most critical New Retail venture has been Hema Xiansheng, a futuristic supermarket launched in 2015 that offers free 30-minute delivery and payment using facial-recognition technology.

Deeply integrated with Alibaba’s technology and services, Hema provides a window into where Amazon may try to take Whole Foods in the future.

Continue reading… “Alibaba’s futuristic supermarket in China is way ahead of the US, with 30-minute deliveries and facial-recognition payment — and it shows where Amazon is likely to take Whole Foods”

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