The announcement of Amazon Go, the cashierless store concept, in late 2016, coincided with a flurry of Chinese tech companies creating their own versions of unmanned stores. For them, 2017 was a fruitful year for developing their solutions tailored to Chinese consumers, as well as in educating the market.

What’s more important behind the quick rise is that the market is ready. High smartphone penetration, ubiquitous mobile payment services, high population density, growing numbers of urban commuters who value convenience and efficiency—everything makes China a fertile land for automated shops.

In line with the rising trend, unmanned convenience store startups became the new darling for Chinese investors. At the same time, traditional convenience retail chains like Japanese convenience store giant Lawson and electronics retailer Suning are also tapping into this trend.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.