More than 100 million residents from 124 cities in 19 provinces are now using Alipay, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s mobile payment unit, to handle social services andpublic-sector transactions.
The company said its latest figures show there are 40 types of public services and 4,000business items now available through the platform.
Some of the most popular include paying medical bills and traffic tickets, making local securityand provident fund queries, booking appointments at marriage registration offices, and renewingexit-entry permits for Hong Kong and Macao.
Alipay’s business was first extended to public services in April last year. According to an Alipaystudy, people in Zhejiang province use the service most for public-sector related payments,followed by those in Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing and Hubei.
The Zhejiang government has also launched its own government affairs service platform onAlipay to collect public opinion and suggestions.
The study showed the housing provident fund queries were its most popular type of serviceaccessed by Beijing residents using Alipay, in which residents need to input personalidentification information before checking their balance.
While in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, exit-entry permit renewals for HongKong and Macao through Alipay proved its most popular transaction.
Alipay’s biggest rival, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat, has also been aligning itself more with thepublic sector. By the end of last year, some 40 million people were making 27 types of publictransactions using WeChat, including services covering traffic, medical and public security.
Li said the great benefit to both companies, of course, is being able to obtain huge amounts ofpersonal customer data through these platforms, which they can then formulate and develop intotheir own products and services.
“The companies can target people getting married, for instance, by developing possible relatedproducts, such as tailor-made loan services to suit young couples.”
Meanwhile, on the government side, Li said using the electronic payment platforms is allowing animprovement in the quality and efficiency of public services
From China daily