China shopping mall sets up lane for pedestrians glued to their mobile phones

Walkway several hundred metres long built outside retail outlet in Xian

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2018, 1:55pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2018, 2:39pm

A shopping centre in northwest China has built a special lane for pedestrians to walk on while gazing at their mobile phones, according to a newspaper report.

The lane has been set up in a commercial district in Xian in Shaanxi province which is home to many start-up companies, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

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The lane is about one metre wide and extends for hundreds of metres, with signs depicting cellphones or warning pedestrians “only for smartphone addicts”.

Other parts of the pavement have a ban on people using mobile phones.

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The lanes are meant to discourage young workers from IT companies in the area who walk while glued to their mobiles, the article said.

Security guards also direct drivers to go round the special lane for “smartphone addicts”.

“The lane gives us people looking at phones frequently a sense of safety,” Hu Shuya, a local resident, was quoted as saying.

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The initiative has triggered a debate online in China, with some saying it encourages people to look at their phones while walking.

“I don’t support it. A special lane for a behaviour that we shouldn’t promote sounds like doing just the opposite,” one person wrote on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Another said: “These smartphone addicts should just walk in a lane for the blind. After all, they can’t see their surroundings like blind people.”