As contactless menu ordering becomes the norm amid COVID, China pushes back – TechCrunch

Digital ordering and payment in restaurants was gaining a lot of ground in China even before the COVID-19 epidemic hit. The tap-to-order method on smartphones is part of more and more development in China where cash and physical documentation is rapidly ending. Many restaurants in big cities make digital menus mandatory, cutting staff costs.

Meanwhile, aggressive digitization has been emphasized from the public and the authorities. One Article An official letter from the Chinese Communist Party was published this week by the People’s Daily, titled: “Scan-to-order should not be the only option.”

In addition to harming consumers’ freedom of choice and removing the human interaction that diners appreciate, mandatory smartphone use also creates concerns over data privacy. Ordering over the phone often requires access to a person’s profile on WeChat, Alipay, Meituan or other Internet platforms, enabling the restaurant’s digital services. With that piece of data, the business will push users forward with advertisements.

“These approaches harm the data protection rights of consumers,” People’s Daily quoted a senior personnel from the China Law Society’s Consumer Rights Unit, the official organization of China’s legal educational professionals.

China has likewise targeted the ubiquity of cashless payments. In 2018, China’s central bank Called Rejecting payments as a type of “illegal” and “inappropriate” that are not accustomed to electronic payments, such as senior citizens.

The elderly also face a dilemma in the form of digital health codes, which typically originate from tracking the history of people’s movement using location data from a SIM card, becoming a norm amidst the epidemic. Without a smartphone-enabled health pass, senior citizens can be turned away by bus drivers, metro station guards, restaurant employees and gatekeepers at other public places.

Recently Guangdong’s southern province to bridge the digital divide started Allowing citizens to check their health status by tapping their physical ID card on the specified scanner.

Cashless payments however are an irreversible trend. Between 2015 and 2020, digital payment penetration rates among China’s mobile Internet users decreased from 60% to over 85%, accordingly. Official data. In addition, the government is accelerating the pace Roll out digital yuan, Which, unlike third-party payment methods, is issued and managed by a central bank, serves as the statutory, digital version of China’s physical currency.