China’s official rail authority, China Railway, blamed a recent hacking on third-party ticketing vendors, often thought to be more convenient, though perhaps less secure, than the official railway ticketing platform, 12306.cn. Earlier this week, it was reported that China Railway moved to limit third-party apps’ access to train tickets.
Some Chinese consumers, it seems, value the convenience of third-party applications over the ostensible security of official platforms, even when that may lead to data theft.
While Chinese consumers do care about data privacy, a 2015 Harvard Business Review study found that they were willing to pay less to protect most types of private data than their American, British, and German counterparts.
According to a 2018 report by Tencent research arm Penguin, 60% of Chinese consumers occasionally worry about data leaks, and are most concerned about their data being used for fraud, being resold to third parties, or leading to spam calls.
China Railway has denied the claims that there was a data breach and warned passengers to avoid booking their tickets on unauthorized third-party apps—in particular, ticket-snatching software and plug-ins.
12306.cn recently rolled out a new feature that it claims is faster than ticket scalping programs, which previously drew droves of customers looking to snap up much-coveted tickets during the Chinese New Year period.
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