Alibaba helps over 300 cities build new smart cities

By Zhang Ye Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/27 12:28:39

Ant Financial, Alibaba Group Holding's Fintech arm, announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with 352 cities in 25 provinces to facilitate government-backed smart city projects, which its rivals - Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings - also have their eyes on.

Ant Financial aims to offer cities a one-stop solution, including credit system construction and mobile public services, to advance the construction of new smart cities, Ant Financial CEO Jing Xiandong said during the China New Smart Cities Summit in Beijing on Tuesday.

Jing highlighted Ant Financial's achievements in mobile public services, which he said now cover 150 million people. Users are able to make hospital appointments, pay utility bills and check for traffic tickets via Alibaba's popular mobile payment tool Alipay, which currently has 450 million real-name registered users.

A new smart city must focus on residents' needs and promote their life of quality, according to standards issued by the Standardization Administration on December 22. Under previous standards, the construction of smart cities emphasized improvements in administrative efficiency and transparency, according to government officials and analysts who attended the summit on Tuesday.

Xu Lin, director of the Development Planning Department at the National Development and Reform Commission, said in April that China will move ahead on construction of 100 new smart cities during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

The two other Internet powerhouses in China also have their sights set on new smart city projects.

Earlier this month, Baidu signed a deal with Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province, to move forward on local smart city projects by leveraging its artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing technologies.

In November, Tencent partnered with the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang to achieve similar goals via its big data and cloud computing technologies.

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