In 2008, the Shanghai Electric Power Bureau did a “little thing” that seems commonplace today – allowing Shanghai residents to pay their electricity bills directly with Alipay, without having to run errands or queue offline. At that time, no one thought that this would become a starting point and kick off the nationwide online service.
Fifteen years have passed, and the problems that mobile phones can solve have expanded from the payment of water, electricity and coal back then to five social insurances and one fund, social security provident fund, payment of fines for traffic violations, hospital registration, transportation, etc. Using mobile phones to do things when going out can “lessen queues, less running errands, “Carry less cards” has become a vivid manifestation of the inclusiveness and convenience of China’s government and people’s livelihood services.
On October 31, Alipay released the 15th anniversary report of people’s livelihood services. The data shows that as of now,more than half of Chinese households complete service payments through mobile phones. Among them, more than 20 million users have elders bound to their utility payment accounts.; Since the launch of the mobile registration service, an average of 180 queuing times have been reduced for each person; more than 8,000 public services have been moved onlinethe one-stop mini programs in 31 provinces across the country are all online on Alipay; 1,300 cities (including county-level cities) can use Alipay to “click” when taking a bus, and inserting coins for change has become a thing of the past… The data strongly supports it. The development of China’s digitalization and the construction of service-oriented government in the past 15 years have witnessed the changes of the times and the warmth of social sentiment.
Helpless queues are reduced: mobile phone payment saves a “golden week”
Running around and running errands and queuing up to do small things may be a common memory for many people. Before the advent of online services, people had to queue up at bank branches and even take half a day off to pay their electricity bills. When you go to the hospital to see a doctor, you have to queue up for registration, treatment, and payment. It used to be a “strange scene” to make a bed on the floor of the hospital hall with a mat and quilt.
In 2008, when online shopping was just emerging, many users appealed to the media, could paying utility bills be as convenient as online shopping?Alipay immediately established a living payment project team.“We have a technical foundation, strong user demand, and the Internet environment is becoming increasingly mature. This is a major matter related to people’s livelihood. Why don’t we give it a try?” recalled a member of the project team at that time. After months of communication and technical docking with Shanghai Electric Power Bureau, Everbright Bank and other institutions, in October of that year, the first online payment of electricity bills was completed in Shanghai, and what originally took one hour to queue was finally shortened to one minute.
According to Alipay data, as of now, more than half of Chinese households have used Alipay to pay for water, electricity, coal and other living expenses. If one online payment can save one hour, over the past 15 years, this “little thing” has helped many families save a “golden week” (7.5 days).
Medical care is also a major pain point in people’s livelihood. In 2014, Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center became the first “future hospital” in China. It cooperated with Alipay to handle registration and payment remotely, greatly improving the efficiency of patient treatment.. Digital medical care has developed rapidly since then. In addition to registration and payment, it even has functions such as online medical consultation and in-hospital navigation.
Up to now, more than 300 cities and 3,500 hospitals in China have provided patients with online registration, online payment, report inquiry and other services through Alipay.The optimization of these medical treatment processes can help patients avoid queuing 3 to 4 times each time. Based on the average annual number of medical visits released by the National Health Commission of 6, this has reduced queuing by an average of 180 times per person over the years.
Do more online work and less errands. The digitization of people’s livelihood services has greatly reduced the helpless wait.Today’s young people can more freely choose to queue up for their own interests and personal development. In “queuing up”, they can get a glimpse of the changes in Chinese society.
More care is given to the elderly: more than 20 million people help their elders pay utility bills, and 70% of users provide medical insurance for the “old and young”
Young people are the main users of mobile phone services, but through the payment and operation methods, the convenience of the digital age has also benefited the elderly at home. “On the first day Alipay was launched in Shanghai, I linked my parents’ account numbers and have been helping them pay bills for 15 years,” recalled Mr. Zhu, one of the first online users in Shanghai.
There are many users like Mr. Zhu. According to Alipay data, more than 20 million users have added elders in their family to their payment accounts, so that the elderly no longer have to queue up. No matter where they work, they can pay their parents on their mobile phones every month. Paying water and electricity bills has become a filial piety among Chinese people.
In the past, the elderly were most afraid of forgetting to bring their medical insurance card or not having enough balance in the card when seeing a doctor. Since this year, the “family account” function of the medical insurance electronic voucher has been launched on Alipay.Support usersHelp family members activate electronic medical insurance vouchers, so that elderly people who do not have smartphones can also “code” to see a doctor and “code” to purchase medicines. Data shows that about 70% of people use medical insurance family accounts to bind the “elderly and one child” in their family to medical insurance. In addition, there is a joint medical insurance program, which allows the medical insurance amount to be used by the elderly at home; the elderly who live with their children in other places can also use the medical records in other places to avoid the trouble of traveling back to their hometown for reimbursement.
To allow digital services to benefit the elderly, many government agencies are also launching innovative measures. Jiangxi Provincial Government Services was the first in the country to launch an “elderly zone” to provide the elderly with large-character versions and voice-activated service search functions. Elderly people who are retired and have difficulty traveling can prove that they are “qualified to receive security funds” by scanning their faces on “Ganfutong” or by relatives and friends.
The regional digital divide is narrowing: all service halls across the country are “online”, and the trend of scanning QR codes and taking buses has spread to Tibet
In 2021, mobile phone payment for water, electricity and coal was launched in the Ngari area of Tibet. In September 2023, the trend of scanning QR codes for public transportation also spread to Lhasa, Tibet. Now herdsmen in Tibetan areas and urban white-collar workers in Beijing and Shanghai are living together in such small things in life. With the same digital service experience on the Internet, the digital divide between regions is also narrowing. “Since 2018, we have been actively promoting mobile payment. We hang payment codes on the car and passengers scan them when they get on the bus. Now we have evolved to directly swiping the code. Many people don’t know that mobile payment in Tibet is developing very fast. Data It shows that the proportion of mobile payment in Tibet has ranked first in the country for five years,” said Director Mima Lhamo, director of the cashier center of Lhasa Bus Operation Company.
According to Alipay data, public transportation in 1,300 cities (including county-level cities) across the country supports Alipay for scanning QR codes to take buses, making inserting coins and exchanging change on the bus a thing of the past.Alipay’s travel business serves more than 8 billion passengers on average annually and reduces carbon emissions by more than 500,000 tons annually.
The development of digital government affairs has also further aligned the service experience of people in different regions. In 2015, the State Council issued the “Guiding Opinions on Actively Promoting the “Internet +” Action”, and “Internet +” was included in the government work report, and “Internet + Government Services” was vigorously promoted to allow residents and enterprises to run less errands, do things more easily, and To add to the problem, various institutions have also launched innovative “online application” services.
Post a QR code in the village, and villagers can open Alipay and scan it to complete social security payments on their mobile phones. Since last year, village cadres in Shiban Village, Changshun County, Qiannan Guizhou, have used this method to allow villagers to complete “online processing” of livelihood services. There is no need to run errands back and forth, and there is no need to invest large costs. The popularity of online services has really benefited villagers in remote areas.
From 2015 to today, 31 provinces, 60 cities, and more than 30 national service platforms have opened Alipay mini programs, providing services including public security, social security, provident fund, taxation, civil affairs, education, water, electricity, gas, transportation, etc. There are more than 8,000 online public services in China, and 1 out of every 2 Chinese people use Alipay to get services, from “maximum one trip” to “never need to run once”.
“Special thanks to tens of thousands of institutional partners for their practice with Alipay. Over the past 15 years, Alipay has evolved from an initial payment tool to a digital life service platform. It is our unchanging original intention to use digital technology and products to solve the small things in users’ lives. Wang Lijuan, vice president of Ant Group and general manager of Alipay’s digital government and enterprise division, said she revealed that Alipay’s travel, medical and health, and government service channels will also be upgraded one after another to unite more partners to further facilitate people’s livelihood service experience.