Date
27 July 2017
A Beijing restaurant asks customers to deposit their smartphones at the reception counter. Those who agree get a special discount. Photo: Internet
A Beijing restaurant asks customers to deposit their smartphones at the reception counter. Those who agree get a special discount. Photo: Internet

Need a break from your smartphone? These guys can help

It is not uncommon to see a Hong Kong couple sitting across from each other in a restaurant, completely absorbed in their smartphones.

In China, smartphone addiction is equally serious but some people are trying to change that.

Li Gang, owner of a Beijing restaurant, says he feels sorry for people who are constantly on their smartphones, ignoring everyone else around the table.

He is upset by how people no longer value face-to-face interaction, so he decided to do something about it.

He started a campaign in his restaurant.

Customers are asked to check their smartphones at the door after they’re seated. These will be kept in a  box until they leave.

Those who agree get a discount.

About 80 percent of customers would say yes, Li tells Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Li says some appreciate the suggestion because it gives them a chance to enjoy the food and the conversation.

But others are so eager to be reunited with their devices they would eat fast.

Elsewhere, a tour operator is also trying to help people kick their smartphone habit.

Wang Sheng organizes outdoor activities outside Beijing in which he has one special rule.

During the break, participants are asked to hand over their phones in exchange for tea and a harp performance.

Wang hopes the exercise will wean people away from their smartphones and help them switch gear.

Hongkongers could use the idea.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

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