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Beijing is using big data for better services
May 30, 2016 News

As big data technology is developing, more and more people now have access to this cutting-edge science. In Beijing, some elderly people are being “digitally tracked” to help the government improve services. How does it work?

Just another day in this local supermarket in Fengtai district, Beijing. 84-year-old Liu Huizhen is busy with her daily shopping. But all she needs to get there and to buy items is a simple card in hand.

“It’s hard for elderly people to count one yuan, two yuan and 50 cents. Just swipe the card and when you take the bus, it’s very simple and convenient. It’s much more convenient than the coupons. It’s wonderful, they’re taking good care of the elderly,” Liu said.

Specially designed for elderly people, this multi-purpose “Beijing Connect” card can track their every swipe.

In Beijing, the number of people aged 60 and over has already reached three million. For the government, this is part of an overall plan to use big data to direct more efficient use of resources.

“We get the data on the elderly so as to better serve them and offer precise services. From here we can see how many neighborhood communities and residential communities there are in Dongcheng district. We can get to know every single elderly person’s situation in each neighborhood including whether the service providers can meet their demands, Bai Qiang, vice president of Beijing Community Service Association, said.

Not just in Beijing, the southern province of Guangdong has also announced a strategy promoting the use of big data. Card holders can even get free access to public facilities and parks.m Compared with coupons, the card appears to be more popular among the elderly.

“(It shows) where they bought what and how much it cost. It’s very convenient.”
“I can ask the designated service provider to do the cleaning at home. If I want to find a cleaner, we can also pay through this card,” Daugher of elderly card holder said.

More card users, more big data. When it comes to developing and using big data, there is still a long way to go.

“For the government, usage of big data is not about doing something innovative, but rather to improve the current governance efficiency and effectiveness,” Zhang Yue, managing director of The Boston Consulting Group in Greater China, said.

By the end of 2018, the card is to be expanded to cover nearly 20 million people aged 60 and above in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province. A rapidly aging population, this is never an easy issue. With more measurements and projects to come, China has more confidence in its commitment to the elderly.


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