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Chinese restaurants, industry develop taste for robots


09:05, March 25, 2013

BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Imagine a robot in a chef's uniform working with a firm dough: noodle strips are peeled off and directly shot into boiling water before diners' eyes can follow the whole process.

The scene is taking place in real life, not at an industrial exhibition, nor in a movie. The robot chef has been "employed" by a restauranteur in Beijing since late February.

Jinhe Noodle Shop, located on the city's Southeast Third Ring Road, looks just like thousands of small eateries standing on Beijing's street corners. It has a dozen tables, selling noodles prepared by the robot chef at around 10 yuan per bowl (1.6 U.S. dollars).

"It's cost-effective," said the restauranteur, surnamed Zhao. "A cook doing this job usually asks for 40,000 yuan (6,400 U.S. dollars) a year. I bought the robot last month for 10,000 yuan (1,600 U.S. dollars).

"It does a good job! Business is as good as before."

Zhao said the inventor of the robot has a team who will come and help if his new purchase malfunctions.

Inventor Cui Runquan, a 38-year-old farmer from neighboring Hebei Province, said he has sold robots like this to more than 3,000 restaurants across China since launching the mechanical avatar in 2010. He obtained his fist patent in 2010, for a mechanical arm, and now has four patents for his invention.

As wages grow by 10 to 20 percent annually in China, the age of the machines is dawning. From small restaurants to big factories, the advent of relatively cheap robots is beginning to change the country's economic landscape.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:HuangBeibei、Yao Chun)

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