The popular coastal resort of Sanya in Southern China’s Hainan province has embraced the iPad, thanks to choices made by their local government.

Now, seafood restaurants with 15 or more tables are required to use the tablets to handle their orders. Smaller establishments will be permitted to use Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) as they are less expensive and therefore more affordable.

These mobile devices (both iPad and PDA options) will run a specially designed program that connects directly to the point-of-sale systems in the restaurants. This software will sound an audible alarm if the price of the seafood ordered by the patrons exceeds the allowable ceiling put in place by the Chinese government.

This move should help to curb the price gouging that has grown out of control in Sanya as of late –something that has been the source of many complaints this year.

To procure the iPads with the requisite training and software, restaurants can expect to sped around 6,000 yuan ($950) each.. Fortunately, the local government has offered to offset these expenses with a grant of up to 9,000 yuan in subsidies to each restaurant.

The project begins on a trial basis beginning next month.

Sanya is known worldwide for their wonderful tropical climate year-round (often described as China’s best kept secret), despite having a long wet season due to monsoonal influences. Despite a sizable population (685,408 inhabitants as of the latest census prepared in 2010), Sanya earns a large percentage of their income from tourists –making this move toward iPads to protect the financial interests of those visiting a very wise one, even if only from a public relations standpoint.

Sanya put itself on the map recently by becoming a spot for the Volvo Ocean Race, an event heralded as the world’s toughest sailing event that spans eight months, four oceans and five continents.


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