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Cashless smart vending machines take China and Thailand by storm

Devices in Singapore and Malaysia serve up medicine and supplements

Tao Bin vending machines in Thailand offer a variety of affordable, customizable drinks. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

BANGKOK/SHANGHAI -- The market for smart vending machines in Southeast Asia and China is booming on widespread mobile payments, contactless shopping habits left over from the coronavirus pandemic, and rising labor costs.

Tao Bin vending machines, which take orders via a touch panel and accept mobile payments, are spreading in Thailand. As of the end of May, about 6,000 units had been installed in train stations and apartment buildings across the country, selling 200,000 drinks per day.

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