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Business trends

Automated shops spread in China as mobile payments take off

Alibaba and ride staffless wave into restaurants and beyond

A shop in Hangzhou has robots make and serve bubble tea. Its prices are a third of competitors'. (Photo by Daisuke Harashima)

HANGZHOU, China -- A retail revolution is sweeping China as companies like Alibaba Group Holding use their ubiquitous mobile payment platforms to spread unmanned systems and help brick-and mortar stores shave growing labor costs.

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