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Singapore's unmanned convenience stores study China failures

New operators bet on captive consumers for growth of automated retail

Retail startup Octobox opened its first unmanned convenience store at the National University of Singapore in August. It's also eyeing the Malaysian, Taiwanese and Indonesian markets. (Photo by Dylan Loh)

SINGAPORE -- Computer science undergraduate Shawn Hong surveyed a chiller stuffed with sodas at a convenience store located within the grounds of the National University of Singapore.

Deciding on a healthier option, Hong, 24, picked up a bottle of sugar-free green tea and headed to the cashier, which in this case was an electronic display built into a wall.

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