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China unveils gold vending machine (2)

(China Daily)

09:49, September 27, 2011

The machine in Wangfujing can only complete withdrawals. However, Zheng said his company has four more machines on the way and plans to be able to offer buy-back services in November.

Each gold bar or coin dispensed features a two-dimensional barcode that can be recognized by a scanner attached to the ATM.

"The machine will also be able to detect the specific type of gold product and determine the price," said Zheng, whose company launched the service after winning approval from China Unionpay and the People's Bank of China.

A report by the World Gold Council in May shows China edged out India as the largest gold consumer in the first quarter of this year, snapping up 90.9 tonsu of the metal. It also said the demand for jewelry in China soared 21 percent in the same period.

"China's appetite for gold has increased rapidly over the past few years," said Albert Cheng, managing director of the Far East at the World Gold Council. "In March 2010, we predicted gold demand in China would double by 2020, but we (now) believe this doubling may in fact be achieved sooner."

For some investors, however, paper money remains a more convenient choice.

"It (the gold ATM) might cater to some people who are fond of gold products, but I still prefer paper, as I have no fondness for gold and paper is much easier to handle and store," said Huang Guohu, an investor in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

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