Chengdu’s first unmanned supermarket GOGO无人超市 has reportedly shut down after only four months according to local reports (in Chinese). The unmanned shelf project, GOGO小超, run by the same Chengdu-based startup, Xiao Mang Guo Technology Limited, closed down months ago. At least 30 employees have not been paid on time; one former employee told the Chengdu Business Daily that they hadn’t received a paycheck since last November.
As the first unmanned store in Southwestern China, the opening of GOGO unmanned supermarket attracted thousands of onlookers when it debuted last September. Automated stores as such can be found in the corners of Chinese urban city streets and commercial areas, and the space is getting crowded, dominated by a number of well-funded tech startups.
A representative from Xiao Mang Guo Technology told local media that the unmanned supermarket is only “temporarily closed” and will be re-opened after the company upgrades its facial recognition system. However, the representative admitted that due to the company’s misjudgment of the market, the company had to shut down GOGO unmanned shelf operation last November. “In hindsight, our GOGO unmanned shelf operation expanded way too fast,” the representative said.
The representative also acknowledged the issue of backpay and said the company is sorting out its financial problems and will handle the unpaid wages by April or May. “We did violate the regulations, and we apologize. We will handle the matter, and will not avoid any responsibilities,” they said.
The company originally had plans to open 500 GOGO supermarkets in large commercial complexes across the country and establish 500 unmanned shelves near business districts and office buildings, according to the statement from the representative.
Now, despite being knee-deep in financial troubles, the company is still optimistic about unmanned retail in China. “This does not mean there is a problem with the unmanned retail industry. We are still confident about the company’s future in this industry.”