CHINA, the world's second largest bullion consumer, has installed the country's first gold vending machine.
Shoppers in the popular Wangfujing Street shopping district in Beijing can insert cash or use a bank card to withdraw gold bars or coins of various weights based on market prices, the People's Daily said on its website.
Each withdrawal is capped at 2.5 kilograms or one million yuan (about $160,000) worth of gold, the report said.
Gold vending machines already exist in Britain, the United States, the Middle East and Europe.
The machine was launched on Saturday by the Beijing Agricultural Commercial Bank and a gold trading company.
They plan to install an unspecified number of machines in secure locations such as gold shops and upmarket private clubs.
Gold is often used as a hedge against inflation and the machines could prove popular among Chinese consumers looking for a convenient way to safeguard their cash amid rising prices.