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China unveils gold vending machine

(China Daily)

09:47, September 27, 2011

The country's first gold ATM is officially put into use in Beijing's Wangfujing Street on Sunday. It was shut down again the same day due to technical problems. The machine dispenses gold bars and coins and is operated by Gongmei Gold Trading. (Photo/China Daily)

China's first ATM dispensing gold bars and coins was switched on this weekend and then swiftly switched back off again.

The equipment, which was activated in the capital's bustling Wangfujing shopping area on Sunday, was shut down the same day because it was not producing receipts.

Li Weizhou, operations manager of Gongmei Gold Trading, which installed the ATM, said the machine will be running again in "one or two days", but refused to name a specific date.

Despite teething troubles, the company expects the machine to be a big hit and hopes to have 2,000 similar ATMs in place within the next two years. The majority will be in private clubs at banks and at landmark buildings in large cities.

The vending machines are already used in countries such as Germany, the United States, Italy and the United Arab Emirates, and Gongmei predicts they will be hugely popular in China, the second largest consumer of gold in the world.

"The people in Asia have a unique taste for gold, especially in China and India, and the channels of investment in China are way too narrow right now," said company president Zheng Ruixiang.

"To put residents' cash deposits into gold deposits can reduce cash flow and reduce pressure on commodity prices," he added.

The touch-screen machines dispense gold bars and coins of various weights based on the market price of the metal, which is updated every 10 minutes.

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