China plots cloud-based social services portal expansion

Summary:China is betting that a cloud service, portal and network of kiosks can improve citizen wellbeing.

China is looking to deliver social services via a portal and kiosks sprinkled through key areas such as schools, health institutions, banks, malls and civic centers.

This cloud services pilot started in the Fujian Province and is expanding to seven more China provinces.

The network, which is being built out by Yi Lian Zhong Information Technology (YLZ), will be powered by IBM System z mainframes running on Linux.

According to IBM, this services network will reach 300 million people.

What's notable is that China is linking various networks---medical, social service, corporate and public groups and government departments---into one portal. Chinese citizens can swipe social insurance identity cards, which are connected to banks, to reach services. The kiosks can also be used to settle payments.

Add it up and financial transactions, job training, medical scheduling, farming subsidies and government aid will be available via the portal and kiosk network.

Among the key questions to ponder:

  • Are these networks easier to connect because of China's centralized government?
  • What will citizen adoption rates be?
  • And can these technology systems bolster citizen opinion of the government and overall wellbeing?

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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