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Beijing gov't signs with Alibaba for smart city initiatives

The Beijing municipal government on Wednesday signed a deal with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba to jointly develop smart city initiatives to move public services online.

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are among the first group of 12 Chinese cities to sign up with Alibaba for the initiatives.

Other companies partnering with cities for the project include leading microblogging platform Sina Weibo and Alibaba's small and medium-sized enterprises finance arm Ant Financial.

Li Zhengrong, deputy general manager of Weibo's government affairs cooperation department, said there are 130,000 government microblogging accounts registered with the company's web portal. The smart city projects would give people access to public services via Weibo's apps on mobile phones.

Urban dwellers frequently complain about crowding and lack of administrative transparency in hospitals and administrative offices. By linking with Alibaba's mobile payment service Alipay, the smart city initiatives could make hospital appointments, passport renewal, and paying for traffic tickets and utility bills as simple as a few clicks on the phone.

Alibaba said it expects to clinch deals with 50 Chinese cities for smart city initiatives within the next year.



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