China's state press agency has unveiled a virtual newsreader designed to deliver headlines 24 hours a day.

Xinhua's “artificial intelligence news anchor” is a lifelike digitised reporter which can read out text by mimicking the image and voice of a real human presenter.

The agency claims the virtual presenter – a realistic-looking man, sharply dressed in a suit – “can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor”.

However, the AI newsreader's debut report on Thursday revealed a robotic voice and awkward delivery.

“Hello, you are watching English news programme. I'm AI anchor in Beijing,” the presenter said at the beginning of its first English-language broadcast.

In an introductory video, it said: “I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”

The technology synthesises the human presenter's speech, lip movements and facial expressions. It was developed jointly by Xinhua and Chinese search engine Sogou.