Bianlifeng (便利蜂), the operator of Chinese staff-less stores and smart vending machines, released a notice to its employees yesterday announcing that they will start pulling out vending machines from 38 cities in China an unnamed employee told Pingtu360. Except for the eight selected cities that they are currently testing the unmanned shelves in and the three other cities they plan to expand into, they will end the smart vending machine operation in the rest of the locations.

The cut-down is said to affect approximately 1000-2000 employees who will likely lose their jobs.  Bianlifeng currently has about 1000 shelves per city, which means they are removing approximately 40,000 shelves.

It is also worth noting that it was only last week when a Bianlifeng spokesperson claimed that they will increase the deployment and widen the coverage of unmanned shelves across Chinese cities including Beijing.

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Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.