A Chinese bank opened in Shanghai a branch, which is equipped with data scanning software, a virtual reality room and speaking robots offering fully automated banking services.

The branch of China Construction Bank, opened in Huangpu, Shanghai region last week, was celebrated as the first bank without human staff in China.

The bank is state owned and aims to deliver more convenient and effective banking services. However, analysts are sceptical, pointing out that the technologies used are actually doing small part in the automation of banking services beyond simple ATMs and online banking.

However, the bank attracts crowds of curious customers with its high-tech equipment. When a new visitor enters, a robot scans his ID card and gives him a number for the line-up for service. Each subsequent visit requires only the customer’s face scanning.


Already inside the office, a second robot responds to enquiries and smart ATMs deal with operations such as opening account, remittances, foreign currency transactions and even serious tasks such as private capital management. The displays are covered with QR codes via which the visitors pay for products and services. A virtual reality machine shows house renting options for those who have expressed interest in similar services. While waiting for your turn, you can kill some time by playing AR games.

Those who still need to contact a human staff for some kind of bank service can benefit from a private room that offers a video call with customer manager.

Traditional Chinese banks are under pressure from their competitors working online as well as the mobile payment applications which enable consumers to pay for goods purchased via their smartphones. China Construction Bank is the second largest lender in China in terms of assets.