Govt services to go mobile in over 70% of Chinese cities by 2020: Gartner

More than 70 percent of Chinese cities will make public services such as paying electric bills or taxes available on popular smartphone apps, tech consultancy Gartner predicted in its latest report.

The growing penetration of internet into almost every aspect of life in China has prompted many local governments to offer public services not just online, but also accessible through smartphones.

Over 90 percent of China's 688 million web users use smartphones to access the Internet, making mobile devices a crucial platform for businesses and government to engage with users.

China's internet conglomerates Tencent and Alibaba have began offering public service access points on their mobile applications for an increasing number of Chinese cities over the past year.

With 70 cities offering public services on Tencent's instant messaging app WeChat and about 86 cities doing the same on Alibaba's mobile wallet Alipay, the city service penetration rate has already hit 30 percent, Gartner said.

The campaign to sign up local governments for such services first began in China's top tier cities and provincial capitals, where citizens have been complaining for years about long lines in administrative centers, poor services and bureaucratic inertia.

Tencent and Alibaba have been making the case that letting people access these services online using smartphones will make a big difference in efficiency, service quality and data collection.

Gartner analyst Eileen He said popular mobile apps developed by large domestic firms will remain a preferable choice for government to make their services accessible on smartphones rather than self-developed apps or websites.

"Both users and government will choose the most convenient channel or platform to demand or deliver public services," He said.

He added that the 'internet plus' strategy and smart city initiatives also serve as catalysts to expedite local government's adoption of mobile apps as access points for public services.

Devott Publications
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