In a growing global trend, Japan has become the latest nation to install gold vending machines for consumers to purchase precious metals.
Space International Ltd. announced that it has begun offering gold and silver to the world’s largest market for vending machines, according to a Bloomberg report. The vending machine sells the precious metal alongside other consumer products such as food and drinks, with the yellow metal coming in the form of coins and ingots and weights from one gram to as much as one quarter ounce.
Makishi Rokugawa, founder of Space International, stated at a media conference in Tokyo that “ordinary Japanese need a way to invest in something they can touch…What if you wake up one day and your money is just a piece of paper?”
Rokugawa also noted that he plans to expand internationally next year, and specifically mentioned Hong Kong as a potential new market.
Japan has a vending machine for every 32 people, and there was 5.15 trillion yen in vending machine sales in 2009. This was 45% above the $42.9 billion of revenue in the U.S., according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association.
Ex Oriente Lux AG, a German company, was reportedly the first to install a gold-vending machine. It operates 11 machines in Germany and five abroad, including in Italy and Spain. TG- Gold-Super-Markt installed its first gold bar vending machine in June 2009, at an airport in Frankfurt, while a similar machine was opened at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel in May 2010.