China’s central and local authorities are stepping up the application of blockchain technology to governance and government services.
Beijing recently issued its “Three Year Blockchain Development Action Plan” for the period from 2020 to 2022, joining the ranks of other local governments in China that have released similar policies including Hunan, Changsha, Guangzhou and Ningbo.
The move comes just following the release of a research report on “Blockchain Driving Chinese Smart Government Services Growth to Enter the Fast Lane” (区块链助力中国智慧政务发展驶入快车道) by the Smart City Development Research Centre of China’s State Information Centre (SIC).
The report points out that government services in China are “at the forefront globally” in terms of online availability and administrative data collection, but that the full potential of these resources has yet to be employed due to issues including “data islands,” the fragmentation of administrative data and lack of connecting information infrastructure.
Dan Zhiguang (单志广), chair of the Smart City Development Research Centre, said to Xinhua that “blockchain technology will create a profound change in traditional productive relationships, as well as pose new challenges for the state administrative system and administrative capability.
“The birth of blockchain technology will make possible new models for government administration in the era of the Digital Economy and the establishment of a fully modernised administrative system, as well as upgrades in modern administrative capability, helping the development of Chinese smart governance to enter the fast lane.”
According to the SIC report China’s e-government market first began to see surging growth in 2008, and has since maintained annual expansion of over 10%.
In 2018 China’s e-government services market exceeded 300 billion yuan, while it is forecast to see annual growth of around 13% for the next five years.
Huobi China CEO Yuan Yuming (袁煜明) said that blockchain technology will permit the connection of “data islands” in government affairs by means of distributed ledger coordination, personal identity verification, traceability and tamper prevention.
The technology will also permit data tracking, clarification of rights and responsibilities, and full-life-cycle management of government data.
The Beijing municipal government recently released the “Beijing Government Services Blockchain Application Innovation Bluepaper (First Edition)” (北京市政务服务领域区块链应用创新蓝皮书（第一版）), which highlighted 12 outstanding blockchain application case studies, including:
- The Beijing Commerce Department’s Jing-Jin-Ji Customs Convenience and Airport International Logistics Blockchain Platform (北京市商务局京津冀通关便利化和空港国际物流区块链平台);
- The Beijing municipal financial regulatory department’s blockchain-based enterprise e-identification information system (北京市金融监管局基于区块链的企业电子身份认证信息系统);
- The Haidian district block-chain driven small-and-medium enterprise financial services platform, which has reduced enterprise data submissions by 80%, and reduced the time required to open bank accounts by 40%;
- The Beijing municipal financial department’s use of blockchain technology for electronic invoices (fapiao) in the areas of healthcare and charitable donations.