The year of 2017 has witnessed launch of more than 500 government-related apps in China, covering 70 large and middle-sized cities nationwide, with central and western regions developing rapidly, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report issued by SunYat-Sen University in Guangzhou, showed that by Nov 2017, up to 514 apps for government affairs services were launched, up 62.7 percent compared to the same period in 2015, with application downloads up by 51.7 percent. The apps covered numerous fields such as transportation, social security, civil affair, as well as tourism.
Among those apps, comprehensive services apps contributed to considerable growth, marking the government's transition from offering single services to integrated one-stop services on its mobile platform.
Zheng Yueping of the China's Public Management Research Center and the National Governance Research Institute of Sun Yat-sun University, also the report's author, said that "the government is offering more favorable policies for the development of its mobile services".
"Governments of all levels are stepping into this relatively new field, while science and technology companies, such as Alibaba's Alipay, provide strong technical support. The government and enterprises can effectively integrate their resources and complementary advantages, establishing the best mode to operate the nation's mobile government platform," he said.
According to the report, up to 364 cities and counties in 31 provinces adopted Alipay's "City Service", which aggregates civic affairs, and offers them a more convenient way to pay the services online.
There are in total 100 items of services on the platform, up 78.6 percent year-on-year. The services cover 12 fields including social security, transportation, policing, civil affair, and criminal justice and serve more than 200 million citizens.
Yu Wenxuan, assistant professor of Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore), said that in terms of the application scenarios of mobile government service, China is to some extent way ahead of that of Singapore.
"Those apps should serve the public and offer them more convenience, or the apps will make no sense."
The report also revealed how regions from central and western China have benefited from government affairs-related apps. Central and western cities including Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing and Xi'an have evolved into representatives of adopting mobile government services, and those services in the meantime are penetrating into rural regions near these cities.
Residents from Renqiu in Hebei province, Yueyang county in Hunan province, and Jiyuan in Henan province can all experience over 25 civic affair-related services through Alipay, with user volume surging by 400 percent.
"Cities and counties from central and western China and other remote areas are the target for the government working with information and technology companies. There will be more input into those regions, combining technical support and regions' characteristics, letting the mobile government platform serve the public better," said Liu Xiaojie, general manager of public services at Ant Financial.