China Construction Bank opens a branch in Shanghai run by ‘smiling’ robots.

China Construction Bank (CCB), the nation’s second largest lender by assets, opened one in Shanghai this week, run by pure technology including facial recognition (FR), artificial intelligent (AI) and virtual reality (VR).

Hyped as a first for the Chinese banking industry, the Beijing-based bank says it has already installed 1,600 smart machines at its 360 branches in the city to ramp up its appeal to tech-savvy customers and trim staff costs.

Walking through the front door of the branch, users first meet a friendly looking robot that answers inquiries via voice recognition.

The 165 square metre ground floor outlet on Jiujiang Road in Huangpu district is equipped with several smart automated tellers capable of a range of services, including account opening, money transfer, foreign exchange, gold investment and the issue of wealth management products.

The bank says the new set up will be able to handle 90 per cent of the cash and non-cash demands of traditional banking outlets.