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China's Alibaba to open its first automated hotel

Robot receptionists and AI-powered smart speakers are homegrown technologies

A guest meets a robot in Alibaba's new hotel. (source of photo, Alibaba)

HONG KONG -- China's Alibaba Group Holding is moving into the hotel business with its first automated hotel as the e-commerce leader seeks to demonstrate its technology muscle and diversify from online retail.

The hotel, based in Hangzhou city where Alibaba is headquartered, has begun taking bookings at 1,399 yuan per night, according to Feizhu, Alibaba's travel business division. Once in operation, the so-called "Future Hotel" is expected to be significantly more efficient than comparable hotels, the company says.

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