Reporting from China
ZHEJIANG, China: Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China, the first to develop into a smart city in 2016, attributes its ‘smart’ status to a supportive local society.
Hangzhou is also the first city to go cashless thanks to Alipay, a mobile phone payment application launched in 2003 by Alibaba, that allows people to buy goods and services.
In Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, too, has the same vision of transforming the state’s capital Kuching into a smart city.
Abang Johari has set up the same e-wallet platform, and it has been very well-received by people in the state.
As in the Hangzhou case, Abang Johari has been calling on Sarawakians to continue to support his Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) led government’s initiatives and investments in digital technology to make Kuching a smart city.
The chief minister knows with the people’s backing, Kuching can be like Hangzhou.
According to a local tour guide from Hangzhou, she is deeply proud that Hangzhou is a smart city of a cashless society.
“Before this we only used cash. Now it is so convenient and fast by just using Alipay.
“We use Alipay to pay for everything. To buy cloths, insurance, train ticket, rent a car, book hotels, pay credit card, arrange doctor’s appointment.
“And on top of that, Alipay even offers higher interest rates than banks.”
She said the people supported the move of the local government there to switch into the cashless system.
“This (cashless society) is the new way of economy, and also in line with the digital era.
“This is why it is called smart city, better living,” she said.
The Zhejiang Media Cooperation and Communication Forum with International Friendship Cities in Hangzhou entered its second day yesterday.
Media representatives from all over the world, including Sarawak, were taken to visit China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou Intelligent E-Valley and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.
Later in the evening, media representatives took the high-speed train from Hangzhou East Railway Station to Yiwu, a 30-minute journey.
The group will visit the Yiwu International Trade City today (Oct 13).