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At restaurants, meals will be prepared by robot chefs

Chinese e-tailer to open 1,000 outlets to challenge Alibaba's eateries

DALIAN, China -- China's No. 2 e-commerce company,, plans to open 1,000 restaurants fully staffed by robots by 2020, taking on front-runner Alibaba's partially-automated eateries.

The first restaurant, to open in August, is expected to occupy about 400 sq. meters, though its location is yet to be announced. Robots will prepare and serve food to diners who order and pay by smartphone at unmanned eateries. The menus will feature about 40 dishes from all over China.

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