China installs gold vending machine, plans 2,000 more
With plans to roll out 2,000 more throughout the country, the Beijing Agricultural Commercial Bank officially installed its first gold ATM during the Chinese National day holiday.
Posted: Monday , 10 Oct 2011
China has joined the United States, Germany, Italy and the United Arab Emirates, in hosting an ATM machine that dispenses bullion and gold coins. In Beijing's 800-year old Wangfujing shopping district, shoppers can use bank cards and cash to buy certified gold bars and coins.
China's first ATM dispensing gold bars and coins was switched on over the weekend of September 25, and then swiftly switched back off again. The equipment had to be shut down the same day because it was not producing receipts due to a small technical glitch, said an industry observer.
The German-imported gold vending machine was then officially installed during the Chinese National Day holidays, which fell in the first week of October.
Despite the initial hiccups, there are plans to roll out 2,000 more of the ATMs nationwide. The machines are operated jointly by Beijing Agricultural Commercial Bank and a gold trading German firm. Plans call for installing more of them in secure locations and in private clubs at banks and at landmark buildings in large cities across the Asian country.
Gold vending machines are already used in some countries. The Chinese government is keen to encourage sales of gold in a country which has seen gold demand soaring 27% last year.
At the ATM, the maximum limit for each withdrawal has been set at 2.5 kilo or one million yuan ($157) worth of gold.
China is the second largest consumer of gold in the world. For some time now, the government has been actively discouraging real estate investment and speculation to cool down property prices.
The gold ATMs retrieve pricing every 10 minutes, and in exchange for cash, debit or credit cards, provides gold coins, wafers or bars in high-end boxes 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
A report by the World Gold Council in May showed that China had edged out India as the largest gold consumer in the first quarter of this year, snapping up 90.9 tonnes of the metal. It also said the demand for jewellery in China soared 21% in the same period.
Albert Cheng, managing director of the Far East at the World Gold Council had reportedly said in March 2010, that the Council had predicted gold demand in China to double by 2020, ``We now believe this doubling may in fact be achieved sooner. China's appetite for gold has increased rapidly over the past few years,'' he said
Gongmei Gold Trading, the company that installed the ATM, said it can hold up to 200 kilograms of gold at once, in varying denominations.
In May 2010, Germany-based firm Gold said that it would churn out 50 gold machines a month. It launched its first ATM in Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel and opened a second one in Germany.
By next month, the Chinese gold-vending machines are expected to include a gold buy-back facility.