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China tech

Chinese unicorn aims to sell half of robot waiters outside mainland

Keenon Robotics ramps up global expansion after zero-COVID lean years

Keenon Robotics server robot delivers food on trays at a restaurant in Shanghai.   © Reuters

DALIAN, China -- Shanghai-based unicorn Keenon Robotics has rebooted a quest to capture global demand for server robots now that China's borders have reopened, with the goal of half its sales going to overseas customers.

The robots were at work at a Shanghai restaurant recently. Standing about chest-high, the machines resembling open bookcases meandered between tables carrying trays of food at a peak speed of about 1 meter per second, or 3.6 kph. They were stopped on a dime as they brought orders to diners.

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