BingoBox, China’s unmanned store startup, unveiled today its new AI solution called “Fan AI”, a smart goods shelving and new check-out payment method powered by image recognition, facial recognition, and machine learning.

BingoBox is a 24-hour self-service convenience store. With a simple smartphone scan, customers are able to enter the store, pick the goods, and pass through check-out with RFID. Now BingoBox wants to get rid of the RFID tags and instead scan the items with a camera powered by image recognition technology. With the newly launched setup, customers can pile up the goods at the check-out counter and pay with a smartphone scan on WeChat Pay or Alipay.

Watch: Video: We tested one of China’s unmanned stores and this is what we found

In addition, BingoBox today revealed a smart retail shelving system equipped with cameras and displays. The cameras will be able to capture the customers’ actions and collect data accordingly, while the displays will show the most up-to-date and customized promotional message and adjust the price tags whenever needed.

“We believe the goods shelves should not only show the price but serve as a communication tool with the customers,” said Chen Zilin, BingoBox’s founder and CEO, at its brand strategy release conference in Beijing today. “It’ll be a great tool for promotional purposes.”

Cameras are set up in the store. (Image credit: TechNode)
Cameras in the store. (Image credit: TechNode)

“Our accuracy rate for image recognition has reached 99 percent,” said Wang Liangqi, BingoBox’s Vice President of Innovation and Research. “Also, with more stores opening, we’re able to collect a larger amount of data to train our ‘Fan AI.’”

The “Fan AI,” the company’s AI system, will be used to assist the future management and operation of the BingoBox stores, according to the company. The smart shelves and the new check-out system will likely be put in use this year. Chen also said that in an ideal world, a team of four are able to manage 40 BingoBox’s self-service stores.

Items are currently attached with RFID tags, a technique the startup is trying to get rid of this year. (Image credit: TechNode)
Items currently have RFID tags attached, a technique the startup is trying to phase out this year. (Image credit: TechNode)

Since launching last year, the startup has set up 158 stores across China, including in major cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, and will soon expand to Ordos in Inner Mongolia, the company said.

The new check-out counter BingoBox rolled out today (Image credit: BingoBox)
The new check-out counter BingoBox rolled out today (Image credit: BingoBox)

Timmy Shen is a technology reporter based in Beijing. He's passionate about photography, education, food and all things tech. Send tips and feedback to or follow him on twitter at...

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