Smart city: A solution to urban problems?

Editor’s note: Internet has profoundly changed our lives. The country is benefiting from the convenience of the technology and the fruit of the innovation as the government and enterprises give "Internet Plus" a full shot. Here we showcase five changes that technology will revolutionize in the service industry.

Smart healthcare changes Chinese lives, but challenges remain

Zhang Lin, 84, who has suffered from hypertension for 20 years, talked with chief physician Chen Xiaomin about his symptoms via a video call on the online platform of Ningbo Cloud Hospital in Zhejiang province, East China. After reviewing Zhang's medical record, Chen gave his advice and submitted an e-prescription to the "Cloud".

A day later, Zhang received hypertension-control medicine at home and finished the process of consulting a doctor.

Internet-based healthcare, as a new branch of the industry from traditional hospitals, has become an emerging trend in China in recent years.

"I used to see Doctor Chen at Ningbo First Hospital from time to time," said Zhang. He was tired of the past experience of getting up at 5 am, taking two buses to the hospital and queuing to get an appointment with Chen.

Zhang is not the only one who benefits from Ningbo Cloud Hospital.

Instead of chatting from home, many people like He Mingdao, 68, get the chance of seeing a renowned physician online while sitting in a community hospital with community doctors, via the platform of the cloud hospital.(Read more)

O2O app helps upgrade recycling in China

A new O2O application has shown its potential to help build a circular economy with more recycling, but obstacles remain for the recycling industry to innovate, China Daily reports.

“If all the garbage generated in Chinese cities this year were loaded on trains, the length of all the trains would equal twice that of the equator,” said Chen Laying, a sanitation worker and deputy to the National People’s Congress, during this year’s two sessions.

Chen’s voice raised one of the major problems in Chinese cities’ development – the unchecked and fast rising amount of garbage which threatens the environment and human life.

As a result of rising living standards, garbage in Chinese cities has been rising at almost the same pace as the country’s GDP – around 10 percent in recent years. From 1979 to 2013, the amount of garbage disposed of every year has jumped from 25 million tons to 173 million tons.

More than 90 percent of refuse with recycling value has not been recycled, according to Wang Jiwei, secretary general of China Association of Circular Economy. Most waste ends up in a landfill or incineration plant, using up large areas of land and polluting the environment, he said.


In Chinese cities, most of the recyclable garbage thrown away are either collected by scavengers who earn a meager income from the business or sold to small waste collection agencies by the owners themselves. Waste sorting is done in a random and disorganized way.

Waste sorting and collection is an unpleasant experience for many due to a lack of professional guidance and service and low profits.

“Sometimes, I have to drive my car with all the plastic bottles and piles of cardboards to waste collection agencies several blocks away, only to receive a dozen yuan,” said Wu Yue, a senior Beijing resident.

“It is even worse in bad weather when going out becomes difficult for me,” said the 60-year-old.But a new O2O (online-to-offline) application has changed the attitudes of people like Wu towards waste sorting and recycling. (Read more)

Life-long learning online is a growing trend

Watching a video of TED talk or an open class on the Internet, or registering for an online course to learn a new language or hobby, are trending. You'll be seen as behind the times if your experience of the above is zero.

Online education is growing. More than 1,000 online education start-ups have been established since 2014 in China,according to

It is one of the most popular fields where entrepreneurs and venture capitalists flock together on account of the absence of geographic restrictions, a high degree of standardization, and economies of scale from reuse of content.

MOOC, or Massive Online Open Courses, is one of the platforms where people can register for free and have access to all online courses provided by universities worldwide.According to its official website, MOOC courses have assessment and examination just like a regular offline courses do. People signing up can participate in video illustration, discussion, submitting assignments, asking questions and a final exam.Once a course completed, users can receive an electronic certificate or pay for a paper copy, which are now acknowledged by many employers.

The Ministry of Education said MOOC "has enlarged the time and space of teaching, fired learners' interest, helped more people benefit from high-quality educational resources and accelerated reform in many aspects of teaching".(Read more)

Ride-sharing a possible solution to traffic woe

For Zhang Jiayu, picking up a hitch hiker is not only a great way to share travel costs but also to make new friends.

The 29-year-old works at an insurance company in downtown Beijing’s financial district of Guomao. It takes him half an hour or longer to drive to the office. Two months ago, Zhang’s routine commute became less lonely after he started using a ride-sharing mobile app.

“I learnt of this car-sharing app from my friends. They said it is quite nice,” said Zhang. He has picked up 27 fellow commuters who share a similar route during the past two months. The cost for the shared journey is much cheaper – around half that of a taxi trip. “It’s not a lot of money, but enough to cover my fuel costs,” said Zhang.

“Besides, it is very interesting experience. Those who want a lift are from different walks of life. They include people with occupations such as doctor, IT engineer, red wine businessman, music teacher.... I have learnt so many things I never knew before,” said Zhang.

He is among an expanding group of urban car owners who have started to share their vehicle with others, especially in rush hours.

More than 18 million riders have used the car-pooling app called Shunfengche, roughly translated as “hitchhiking”, launched by Didi Chuxing, China’s largest online car-hailing service provider, since last July. (Read more)

Online home rental companies want to kick out hte middlemen

A new generation of online home rental companies is rushing into the market with the aim to overturn traditional rules by directly connecting renters and tenants without brokerage fee.

Kuaiyoujia, 107 room, and huoju365, all established in the past three years, have their own websites, apps and public accounts on WeChat, China's most popular mobile social networking platform. Unlike purely online information sharing platforms, these partially open and agent-free information service platforms check and verify the authenticity of the house and the identity of the house seekers before accepting them.

A 28-year-old IT engineer, surnamed Li, sought a new house in Beijing at the beginning of this March, the peak of house renting in big cities as working population returns from hometowns after the Spring Festival.

There are about eight million floating population in Beijing, with the estimated number of house seekers reaching 10 million.

About 100,000 renting trades happen every month, said Niu Huanqiang, a marketing director from Homelink Real Estate Agency Co, China's largest pre-owned home broker.

House seekers use every information available, ranging from friends' introduction, open and free online information sharing platforms such as and, to online and offline property agencies who charge brokerage fee.

Vowing to improve the service that their predecessors lack, the new market players know what renters and tenants care most.(Read more)