• A group of food delivery drivers line up as they prepare for work along a street in Beijing.

A group of food delivery drivers line up as they prepare for work along a street in Beijing. (Photo : Getty Images)

The online food ordering industry on China currently has issues with regards to restaurants operating without licenses, false advertising of food and food safety. In order to deal with these, China's top food authority has drafted and publicized a new regulation which covers the online-ordering industry as well as other third-party platforms.

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The Food and Drug Administration of China states that online food providers are required to have physical stores. Besides these, they are also required to strictly run their businesses based on the criteria of their business licenses.

Online food providers are also obliged to show full copies of their business licenses either on their websites or on the third-party platforms that they use. If there are changes to their business licenses, they must update it in a timely fashion.

Besides this, providers were also ordered to use safe materials to contain and transport their food to ensure the safety of it.

If providers don't comply with the regulations, they will face a fine of between 5,000 and 10,000 yuan from the food authority.

For third-party platforms, the regulation indicates that they should record all the details of each order, including the food's name, time of order, destination as well as the time of arrival to the customer. These records should be kept at least 6 months.

They are also required to make spot checks and inspections about the business process of the online food providers.

Besides this, third-party platforms should also make sure that the advertisements of the online food providers that are posted on their platforms are in accordance with the physical stores.

Once illegal behaviors have been found by third-party platforms, they should stop service for the offending stores, then report them to local food authorities.

Statistics in 2016 show that the volume of China's online food-ordering reached 176.15 billion yuan. Despite the huge number, illegal activities led to the closure of 225 online food providers in Beijing from December last year to early January this year.