Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Senior Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Asia Pacific market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

News brief
Fuxuema (school resumption code), which is embedded in WeChat, allows students to report their daily temperatures and obtain a colour-based QR code on their mobile phones that shows their health status.

Fuxuema is similar to health code systems launched by Tencent and Alipay, which are now used by Chinese residents for intra- and inter-city travels. Fuxuema lets teachers and relevant education departments track the health status of their students. Parents can also apply for the colour-based health codes for their children.

Why it matters
Even as the COVID-19 outbreak seems to ease in China, the authorities are not risking a second wave arising from the return of millions of students to school. Since consumers are already familiar with the earlier colour-based health code systems, a version designed for students seems like a sensible solution. Consumers are willing to comply for their own safety, but such tracking systems tend to raise privacy concerns, as people also question the need for a separate health code system.

What we’ve seen
What Colour Are You?: Alibaba and Tencent have both rolled out a colour-based health system, which tracks people’s health status amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
My Travel History: China’s three major telecommunication carriers have rolled out a service that allows users to request a list of their locations over the last 14 days to help people report their recent travel history to the authorities.
Let’s TraceTogether: TraceTogether is a mobile app that supports Singapore’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing.

What’s next?
China’s health code system could have a bigger potential in the medical field for the convenience of consumers and more personalised service. For instance, it could provide the basis for digital medical record migration, which is already in progress in some cities. With enough data, scientists, doctors and medical researchers could build intelligent systems that could better prevent and contain outbreaks in the future. As the accuracy of advanced artificial intelligent systems relies on massive amounts of personal data, it will be increasingly critical for stakeholders to build solid data protection infrastructure that safeguards the integrity of consumers’ data.