Instead of fumbling for change to buy a drink at a vending machine, users in China can download an app developed by UBox. Once they top up their account with money using their Alipay or a UnionPay card – two of the most popular online payment methods in China – they can make their purchase using their cell phone.
It’s the latest innovation in mobile payment methods to hit Asia. In South Korea, Home Plus – the Asian version of British supermarket giant Tesco – created a stir when it transformed a busy subway platform in Seoul into a virtual grocery store. The concept allows busy commuters to shop for their groceries on their way home from work simply by simply scanning product QR codes with their mobile phones.
The vending machine project, meanwhile, is in its infancy and requires the use of special UBox-compatible machines that have no coin slots – just one big button to retrieve the desired snack food or drink. According to tech blogger Penn Olson, the next step is for the company will be to get the specialized machines onto subway platforms and shopping malls. The app is available for iPhones and Android.
Users who sign up are also promised a 10 percent “lifetime” discount on their UBox vending machine purchases.
Though the promo video is in Chinese, you can watch how it works here: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjg2MDg2ODA0.html.